Dear Friend:

This past January I had the honor of giving the closing remarks at the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College graduation. As I thought about what I wanted to say, the idea of family kept coming back to me. Ours is a prestigious program, one which nurtures the development of generations of graduates who consistently become some of the most highly-lauded writers in the country. But graduation is also the first step in a lifetime of support for the talented writers who then become part of the Friends of Writers community, a family deeply dedicated to its members.

I’d like to thank you for being a part of this family over the past year. It’s been an eventful time for the MFA program, and we are pleased to share the following with you.

The Friends of Writers “Soiree for Scholarships,” held October 10 in Minneapolis, raised more than $55,000 in support of Warren Wilson MFA students. Attended by 80 alumni, faculty, and friends, both old and new, the event included music, comedy, drama, film, a silent auction as well as a live one—and dancing! And the memorable setting in the art gallery at Le Meridien Chambers Hotel provided the perfect backdrop. We are so hoping to build on this wonderful success before the end of 2015—if you haven’t yet helped the campaign, won’t you consider making a donation today?

Money raised through the gala was earmarked for the MFA General Scholarship Fund, which guarantees grants for four semesters to every student in the Program who demonstrates financial need through the FAFSA. As someone who has taught in the program for almost a decade I’ve seen firsthand how this assistance enables students to thrive. Many of our students could not pursue their dreams were it not for the MFA Grants and other Friends of Writers’ scholarships such as the Holden Minority Scholarship and Opportunity Grants, the Carol Houck Smith and Barnhardt Family awards, the Lisel Mueller and Renate Wood Scholarships—and two new sources of support, the D’Amico and the Rodney Jack Scholarships. In addition, Friends of Writers continues to help the alumni members of our family, by awarding the Levis Stipend for completion of a first book, providing scholarships to attend the annual Alumni Conference, and underwriting the conference when needed. This degree of support is rare in the world of low-residency MFA programs—it’s one of our program’s many distinctions—and it would not be possible without the generosity of Friends of Writers donors like you.

For the current academic year, Friends of Writers was able to provide $42,100, in 24 individual scholarship awards, but the need is great: many of the Program’s students are unable to cover the costs of their education without substantial help. I have had the privilege of teaching some of these gifted, hard-working writers.

When I thought about what I might say to the graduates it came down to, “You are Awesome,” and “You’ve got this.” By “this” I meant you’ve got us. From the day a writer comes into our

program there is the understanding they are not alone. Friends of Writers is the lifeline that keeps

our students writing and living the lives they’ve worked so hard for. It’s a community I’m extremely proud to be a part of.

As always, we are very grateful for all of the support you may have given to our mission. We hope you will continue to provide opportunities for our students through your generous donation to Friends of Writers.

With thanks,

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

P.S.   You do want to stay in touch, yes?  Here’s how:

* Send your up-to-date contact information to [email protected].

* Visit the Friends of Writers website at  and

sign up on the right side of the page to receive news about FOW

projects, get-togethers, available craft lectures and the program’s 40th

anniversary celebration.

P.P.S. If you have already given this season, my heartfelt thanks.

All Hallows Eve approacheth! The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest!
You know what that means, alumni: No book out yet? Working on a manuscript? Time to send your submission for the Levis Prize NOW.
Submissions END midnight Pacific time on November 1.
– – – 

The fine print: Submissions open through November 1 in both poetry and fiction. Alums who haven’t yet published a full-length collection in the selected genre are eligible.

Full guidelines and application here:



I want YOU to SUBMIT…

…your work to the Levis Prize.

Submissions open through November 1 in both poetry and fiction. Alums who haven’t yet published a full-length collection in the selected genre are eligible.

At stake: $4000. Bonus:The admiration of your fellow Wallies and the world at large.
Full guidelines and application here:

Tickets are live for the Soiree for Scholarships in Minneapolis!

Please download the flyer and help us to spread the word! [media-downloader media_id=”6176″ texts=”Download Soiree Flyer”]

For questions, contact Mary Jo Thompson, Event Co-chair, at [email protected].


Save the date

Man Matching Description

Because the silk scarf could have cradled
a neck as delicate as that of a cygnet,
but was instead used in last night’s strangling,
it is possible to marvel at the finish on handcuffs.

Because I can imagine handcuffs,
pummeled by stones until shimmering,
the flashlight that sears my eyes
is too perfect to look away.

Because a flashlight has more power
on a southern roadside than my name and blood
combined and there is no power in the very human
frequency range of my voice and my name is dead
in my mouth and my name is in a clear font on a license
I can’t reach for before being drawn down on—
Because the baton is long against my window,
the gun somehow longer against my cheek,
the vehicle cold against my abdomen
as my shirt rises, twisted in fingers
and my name is asked again—I want to
say, SwanI am only a swan.


From Blackbird, Fall 2011, Volume 10, Number 2

Friends of Writers thanks its many donors.  If you would like to support the work of Friends of Writers, please click on the blue donate on our homepage.

You can view the 2013 donor list HERE.


Faculty member Monica Youn, MFA Director Debra Allbery, and faculty member Megan Staffel at the 2014 Spring Gala

Friends of Writers hosted its second gala fundraiser in Manhattan. Click on the link to see more photos and to find out more about supporting the cause!





APRIL 28, 2014