MFA Creative Writing Program in HongKong: The Best Writers for Asia

The Department of English at City University of Hong Kong are
looking for the top creative writers who want to write Asia.  This summer,
the University is starting a ground-breaking Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
specialising in Asian writing in English, the first programme of its kind in
the world.  Based in the Department of English, the innovative 45-credit,
two-year programme will accept a limited number of students in creative
non-fiction, fiction & poetry.  The degree is benchmarked to international
standards for the MFA.  The Hong Kong-born author Xu Xi has assisted in the
design of the programme and is joining the Department as their first
writer-in-residence on March 1.

We anticipate the majority of applicants to be from Asia Xu says, but many
writers in the West, both of Asian and non-Asian ethnicity, are increasingly
drawn to Asia, especially China. They’re not always best served by MFA
programmes in the West where there’s little focus on either a contemporary
or historical Asian perspective or Asian literature. The faculty comprises
writers who know Asia, live Asia, read Asia, write Asia‚ as the launch
advertisement says. The top criteria for admittance will be the quality of
creative work.

This initiative is part of an overall strategy to develop the creative
curriculum at the university. Professor Kingsley Bolton, Head of English at
City University says, Our English Department is a very young one, but
probably one of the most dynamic and innovative departments of its kind in
Asia. In the next few years, we are aiming to make the English Department
here a leading centre for creative writing, drama, and cultural studies, not
only for Hong Kong but also for the whole of the Asian region. The MFA is
generally considered a professional degree, qualifying students to work in
professions where good writing skills are required, as well as providing the
groundwork for an international writing and publishing career.

The low-residency graduate degree model is relatively new in Asia. A
long-established pedagogical model in the U.S., such programmes are
especially suited for the creative arts. In particular, this programme is
ideal for working professionals who cannot afford to spend two years as
full-time graduate students in a traditional writing programme. Structured
for individualised learning, students work via distance learning with
writing mentors on a one-on-one basis during the semesters, and attend brief
residencies‚ at the university two to three times a year. The low
faculty-to-student ratio allows for intensive feedback on the student‚s work
and approximates the professional editor-writer relationship.

The first residency is scheduled for summer 2010. The
internationally-renowned novelist Timothy Mo will be visiting writer and the
faculty writers for the 2010 class features an international cast from Hong
Kong, India, the U.K, Canada and the U.S., with connections and roots in
China, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere. The
writers include Tina Chang, Marilyn Chin, Luis Francia, Robin Hemley, Justin
Hill, Sharmistha Mohanty, James Scudamore, Ravi Shankar, Jess Row and
Madeleine Thien. For applications, please visit and email or
call Xu Xi at ++ 852.9175.2839 for further information.


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