Thursday, March 15, 2012

To MFA or Not To MFA?

At a writer’s conference I recently attended, an employee in the publishing industry confided in me that agents and publishers rarely sign new authors who don’t have an MFA. I was very much taken aback by such a statement, especially when he added that agents typically don’t take a writer seriously unless they have an MFA. Seriously?

I certainly have nothing against MFA programs, but after finishing my Masters in English along with concentrations in Creative Writing I felt I already had enough literary education. Not to mention, plenty of my favorite authors never had MFAs. I also talked to disillusioned friends coming out of MFA programs where they claimed it started to make every student’s writing sound the same regardless of who wrote a piece of fiction.

Since several of my fellow bloggers are published or will be someday soon, I was curious on your thoughts. Is this guy just spouting tripe or is there some truth to what he claims? What are your thoughts on the necessity of having an MFA and being a working author?