Friends of Writers

friendsofwriterslogoFriends of Writers, a not-for profit 501(c)(3) organization, enriches American poetry and fiction by cultivating new and vital literary voices. We do this by raising funds to support students, alumni and faculty of our partner, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. The MFA Program pioneered a model of low-residency study based on three core values: community, rigor, and diversity. Community provides support for the individual writer; rigor encourages that individual’s finest work; and diversity—in aesthetic, ethnicity, gender, age, occupational, geographic, and economic background—ensures that American writing reflects the entire nation.

Friends of Writers was established in 1991 as an independent non-profit organization. It was begun by faculty and alumni of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for the immediate purpose of raising scholarship funds. In addition to providing scholarships for WWC MFA students, it provides scholarships to the alumni conference, as well as paying other costs associated with the alumni conference. In recent years, anonymous donors have established additional funds for current students, alumni, and faculty.

Also in recent years, the MFA Program faculty have produced seven writing anthologies. The editors and all contributors to those volumes donated 100% of each book’s advance and royalties to Friends of Writers’ scholarship funds; when necessary, they have also paid for reprint permissions, so Friends incurred not a single penny of expense to produce the books.

The only costs for Friends of Writers are essential legal and accounting fees. There is no office, no paid staff. Board members donate their time, the cost of travel to semi-annual meetings, and lodging and meal expenses. All donations flow directly into the scholarships to support our literary community.


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“Short Story: A Process of Revision” by Antonya Nelson

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A new piece by faculty member Antonya Nelson appears at Tin House:

Last spring, I taught an undergraduate fiction workshop that differed significantly from any other workshop I’ve taught or taken: I tried to have my students mimic the process I go through when writing a story. In most workshops, students are charged with creating two or three short stories in the course of fifteen weeks. But I myself have never written three short stories in a semester—at least, not since graduate school, when I was in a workshop that demanded it of me. I don’t know many writers for whom three stories in fifteen weeks is a habit, but somehow in workshops it’s become the procedure. The fact that that doesn’t replicate my own process seemed sort of weird after a while.

Continue reading online…

A Conversation with Poet Jayne Benjulian

Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in Alumni News | 0 comments

An interview with poet Jayne Benjulian (poetry, ’13), entitled “Lifting the Domestic,” appears online in Mother Writer Mentor:

In her review at The California Journal of Women Writers, Benjulian writes eloquently about the ways in which poems about the domestic sphere are overlooked in the contemporary publishing scene.

Continue reading online…

An Interview with Poet Joanne Dwyer

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in Alumni News | 0 comments

An interview with alumna Joanne Dwyer (poetry, ’09) about her debut book Belle Laide appears at Identity Theory:

Joanne Dominique Dwyer was born in Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY. She has lived in New Mexico for most of her adult life. Dwyer has been published in various journals, such as The American Poetry Review, Conduit, The Florida Review, Gulf Coast, The Massachusetts Review, The New England Review, Poetry, TriQuarterly and others. She received a Rona Jaffe award and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson. Her first book of poems, Belle Laide, was published by Sarabande in 2013.

Continue reading online…

Liam Callanan Goes to Greece

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Faculty Updates | 0 comments

Faculty member Liam Callanan has written about his Percy Jackson-inspired family trip to Greece for The Wall Street Journal:

MY LUNGS were burning, my legs wobbling. My first outing as an Olympic athlete was not going well. Then again, I was burdened with a backpack and jet lag.

My 11-year-old daughter had decided that the best way to experience ancient Olympia—a sprawling riverside complex in Greece where the Olympic Games were held starting in the eighth century B.C.—was to run the roughly 200-yard track that Zeus’s son Hercules supposedly laid out. Under the scorching midday sun, was it a smart thing to do? No. Did it make antiquity come alive in a rush that I can feel again typing these words? Ye gods, yes.

Continue reading online…

Until It Isn’t: An Interview with Antonya Nelson

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Faculty Updates | 0 comments

An interview with faculty member Antonya Nelson appears at American Short Fiction:

Antonya Nelson’s eleventh book,Funny Once, was published this past May. It includes the story “Winter in Yalta,” which appears in the most recent issue of ASF. Over a slew of emails, she took some time to talk to me, among other things, about the origins of her love of reading, obsessive fascinations, and the difference between therapy and writing fiction.

Continue reading online…

“Sitting With the Storm” by Christine Hale

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Alumni News | 0 comments

A new creative nonfiction piece by alumna Christine Hale (fiction, ’96) appears online at Hippocampus Magazine:

In the shrine room at the Tampa Dzogchen Buddhist Center, all is familiar and quotidian: dull strain in my low back, noted and dismissed; stinging ache in my hips and knees, a warning I’ve sat too long and will pay with sharp pain when I get up. The pitted pale surface of walls I helped the sangha repaint several years ago remains blank except for dusty sets of framed tangkhas under mildew-spotted glass. The permanent scent of the Center—citrus mold, candle wax, resinous Bhutanese red incense, and dust—envelopes me. Veils of spider web drape the unreachable uppermost corners of the building, once a Cuban dance studio, its still-lustrous hardwood floors a testament to better times in this inner-city neighborhood now griped by dereliction and violence.

Continue reading online…

An Interview with Christian Piers

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Alumni News | 0 comments

An interview with alumnus Christian Piers (fiction, ’12) appears at The Writer’s Job:

Many people think of the sciences and the arts as dichotomous, or at the very least, distinctly different career tracks.  Do you see or experience any overlap between them? 

Yes!  At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve always wanted to be a healer.  I just felt like I couldn’t fully live that out as a clinician.  If someone came in after their best friend knocked their teeth out, I could use medicine to get them out of pain.  I could use medicine to restore their smile.  I could use medicine to make that punch look like it never happened—but I couldn’t use it to touch the sort of pain that comes with knowing that the punch didhappen.  That’s when I turn to literature.

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Congratulations to the July 2014 Graduates!

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in From the MFA Program | 0 comments

Friends of Writers and the MFA program would like to congratulate the July 2014 graduates:

Hannah Armbrust (Poetry)

Rachel Brownson (Poetry)

Jennifer Buchi (Poetry)

Francine Conley (Poetry)

Catherine Grossman (Poetry)

Todd Harris (Fiction)

Laura Maher (Poetry)

Kerrin McCadden (Poetry)

Franklin Morris (Fiction)

Jennifer Murray (Fiction)

Amanda Peppe (Fiction)

Somayeh Shams (Fiction)

Emily Sinclair (Fiction)

Noah Stetzer (Poetry)

Christy Stillwell (Fiction)

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell (Poetry)

The Common Podcast: Helen Hooper and Megan Staffel in Conversation

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Faculty Updates | 0 comments

Faculty member Megan Staffel discusses her story “Mischief” (which appears in Issue 06 of The Common) with writer and fiction alum Helen Hooper on the inaugural episode of The Common Podcast: Contributors in Conversation.

Listen online.

MFA Residency: Friday, July 11

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in From the MFA Program | 0 comments

Public Events Schedule

At 10:00am in Ransom Fellowship Hall, Daisy Fried will present the lecture, “Ice Queens & Hotheads: On Extreme Tones.”

At 11:00am in Ransom Fellowship Hall, Charles Baxter will present the lecture, “Fugitive Subjectivity and Toxic Narratives.”

Join us at 4:30pm in Ransom Fellowship Hall for a reading featuring graduating students:

Kerrin McCadden

Amanda Peppe

Noah Stetzer

Emily Sinclair

Graduation ceremony will follow.

For more information, including a full schedule of public events, please visit the program website at