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New Totally Online MFA < Back to Listing

Carr Hall on the Bay Path College Campus
Deepwood Hall located on the Bay Path College Campus
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The MFA in Creative Nonfiction offers craft workshops and professional tracks in the memoir, travel and food writing, women’s stories, health and wellness writing, publishing, and teaching the craft of writing in this no-residency, totally online program.

LONGMEADOW, Mass—Bay Path College is pleased to announce the launch of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. The totally online, no residency, 39-credit program for women and men will begin in the fall of 2014.

One of the fastest growing genres in the publishing industry, the MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing will offer craft workshops and professional tracks in the memoir, travel and food writing, contemporary women’s stories, health and wellness writing, publishing, and teaching writing. Designed to build and develop a writer’s voice, style, and confidence, the curriculum features a mentorship lab that links seasoned authors one-on-one with students, a supportive community of fellow writers, and strategies on how to be published. 

Throughout the two-year program, students also learn the techniques of outstanding writing, as well as read and discuss important works of creative nonfiction. After foundation seminars and labs, students can choose electives in their chosen tracks such as “Eat, Drink, Get Paid,” “Women’s Spiritual Writing through the Ages,” or “The Power of the Pen.” All students progress toward completing a MFA thesis (memoir, collection of essays, biography) that can pave the way toward sharing their work with the wider world 

“By being online, the MFA is flexible and provides people the opportunity to pursue their writing journey and still balance their personal and work lives,” says MFA Director Leanna James Blackwell. “It also provides a depth of program because students can have directed study with leading authors in a very highly personal and focused way. And they aren’t limited by distance—they each could be hundreds of miles apart, but technology brings them together in a classroom of their own making.”

The MFA faculty are award-winning and nationally recognized writers in their field and include, among others, National Public Radio and Boston Globe food critic T. Susan Chang, Yankee Magazine editor Mel Allen, best-selling author Ann Hood (Somewhere Off the Coast Of Maine, The Knitting Circle), and spiritual chronicler Aine Greaney. Celebrated local writer and Bay Path Writer in Residence Suzanne Strempek Shea (Shelf Life, Sundays in America) will lead an optional summer writing retreat in Ireland. 

Leanna James Blackwell is a prize-winning essayist and documentary playwright who writes and speaks frequently on the arts, family, and social justice. Her work has appeared in academic and literary magazines; in best-selling anthologies; on theatre stages; and on popular literary and parenting blogs. She has been teaching and mentoring writers for twenty years at colleges in California and Massachusetts, in workshops and retreats, and in her private coaching practice. Leanna is a founding member of the Playwrights Lab of Northampton, former artistic director of TKO Theatre and the Inner Stage in San Francisco, and the co-founder and director of The Place for Writers at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her most recent play, The Wendy Chronicles, on the life and work of pioneering playwright Wendy Wasserstein, premiered at Mount Holyoke College’s Rooke Theatre. She graduated from Mills College with an MFA in creative writing and is known for a teaching approach that helps writers tap and develop their deepest creative potential. 

To discover more about Leanna James Blackwell, visit her blog,, where she focuses on the art and conversation of writing.