Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the New Hampshire Institute of Art

MFA in Creative Writing

“On the one hand, NHIA’s Creative Writing program is a possibility space for hybridity and cross-pollination with other genres and art forms; on the other hand, a place where writers come to a deep understanding about what they need in today’s publishing landscape.” ~ Monica Bilson , Program Director


The MFA in Creative Writing at New Hampshire Institute of Art offers a possibility space for hybridity and cross-pollination of genres and media. We draw inspiration from writers like Anne Carson, Lance Olsen, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Valeria Luiselli, and John d’Agata to transcend distinctions not only between fiction, essay, memoir, and poetry, but also across codes, cultures, and disciplines. Our students might produce a science fiction novel, or a memoir in photographs and poems, or a chapbook, and our faculty have expertise in all those areas to ensure a deep, rich knowledge in the chosen genre. We emphasize hybridity as a tool for exploration, however, our students often create works that are more traditional in form. Our goal is to give writers the means, opportunities, and space to make thoughtful and informed choices about their practice and aesthetic outcomes.


We also emphasize professional practice and literary citizenship, and visiting faculty and editors travel to each residency to critique student work with a real-world perspective. Our writers are strongly encouraged to send out work to journals on a regular basis and to attend readings and conferences regularly. Each residency, every student writer sits down for a one-on-one with a writing professional from small presses, literary journals, and writing residencies. In addition, we offer assistantships to student teach in our BFA Creative Writing program, edit fellow students’ critical theses, and work in marketing.

As a student you will participate in five ten-day residencies with all but the fifth followed by a semester of self-directed study with a writing mentor who oversees your creative output, reading list, and critical work. To fulfill the requirements of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, you must complete five residencies and four semesters for a total of 60 credits, as well as self-publish your book including a critical introduction.

View the 2017 MFA and MAAE Thesis Exhibition Catalog

Monica Bilson

Meet the Program Director: Dr. Bilson’s primary interest as a writer lies in crossing the disciplinary boundaries of fiction writing, philosophy, aesthetics, and popular culture. Originally inspired by existentialism and modernism, she has published work on topics ranging from Foucault’s theory of the panopticon as it relates to anorexia nervosa to hermetic fantasies found in Beckett’s plays and David Lynch’s films. She has served as Chair of Chester College of New England’s Writing and Literature program; Co-director of Turnstyle: the Alternative Writing Program for High School Students; and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at New Hampshire Institute of Art.

At NHIA's Graduate Program events, you'll learn more about our supportive and collaborative community of students, faculty, mentors, writers, and visiting artists.


  • October 7-8 | Artists and Mentors Pop-up Show, 3S Artspace, Portsmouth NH | Time TBD

  • November 2 | Pecha Kucha, Stark Brewery, Manchester NH | 6:30pm info session; 7pm event

  • January 13 | MFA Residency Visit Day | 9am - 1pm



  • Arts + Environment Conference, Nevada | Oct 9-11

  • NH Film Festival, Portsmouth, NH | Oct 12-15

  • NHAEA Conference, NHIA | Oct 14

  • Statewide Arts Education Partnership Conference (hosted by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts) | TBD



Manchester Campus, 148 Concord Street, Manchester, NH 03104
Sharon Arts Center Campus, 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 03458


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