Welcome from the Director
Welcome from the Director
Welcome to Seton Hill’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction Program, where students write the kind of novels they love to read.
It is this emphasis on popular fiction that makes Seton Hill’s MFA unique. Unlike universities that focus on literary fiction, we specialize in the books you read: mystery, science fiction, romance, fantasy, horror, and young adult fiction. Indeed, our MFA was designed as a professional program that emphasizes writing as a vocation. Therefore, on top of learning the craft of writing, our students also study issues involving reader and genre expectation, how publishing works as an industry, self-promotional tools (including social media), and other elements of writing as a profession.
You also write a whole book!
Other programs require excerpts or short stories, but our students write their novel. And they don’t do it alone: they have the expertise of a professional mentor, critique groups formed within the program, and the wider Seton Hill WPF community, including alumni.
This leads me to another great strength of the program: community. For while our low-residency program was designed to accommodate those with jobs and families, our students are constantly working with each other and with the program through contact with their mentors, with their critique groups, in forums on their online courses, during periodic online chats, and, of course, when we all come together for residency. This community exists even after graduation, with our students using social media and conferences to stay in touch. For a taste of these interactions, check out #shuwpf on Twitter, where you’ll find both current students and alumni engaging in writing sprints, hanging out at conventions, or sharing both success stories and inside jokes.
Finally, our student success stories are our biggest accomplishment. Recent successes include our alum Don Bentley, who recently not only sold his first novel to Penguin Random House, but was also chosen to write a thriller for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Jr. series. Another recent graduate, Preslaysa Williams, just sold her novel to Avon/HarperCollins. Other multi-published alums include Shelley Bates (writing as Adina Senft and Shelley Adina), Nalo Hopkinson, Maria Snyder, Victoria Thompson, Kathleen O’Brien, and Anna Zabo.
I would love to talk more with you about this program and about your ambitions. Do you want to write that novel of your heart and give people the same joy you felt reading your favorite books? Then Seton Hill may be the place for you. Feel free to contact us and we can start a discussion that may change your life.
Nicole Peeler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English & Director of the Writing Popular Fiction Program