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writer's workshop

The Department of Writer’s Workshop is both a creative writing program and a community of creative writers bonded in their study of the literary craft. This program is a full curriculum of courses in writing, literature, the arts, sciences and humanities.
The students may pursue an emphasis in fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction with the option for doing a capstone senior thesis of original work in their chosen genre. In studio classes, students receive peer and faculty critique of their written work, and benefit from the advice of prominent writers who regularly visit the classes through the Writer’s Workshop sponsorship of the Missouri Valley Reading Series.
The training of students in the UNO studio writing courses has been favorably compared to graduate workshops at other universities offering Master of Fine Arts degrees.

Literature/Theory Core Curriculum
     Contemporary Writers
     Oral Interpretation of Literature
     Form & Theory (2 semesters)
     Three 2000-level literature courses
     Six 3000-4000 level literature courses

Writing Tracks
Fiction & Poetry
Writing Core
     Fundamentals of Fiction Writing
     Fundamentals of Poetry Writing
     Basic Fiction Studio
     Basic Poetry Studio
     Creative Nonfiction Studio

Fiction & Poetry Writing Concentration
     Fiction - Three semesters of Fiction Studio
     Poetry- Three semesters of Poetry Studio

Creative Non-fiction
     Fundamentals of Fiction
     Basic Fiction Studio
     Fundamentals of Poetry
     Basic Poetry Studio

Writing Concentration
     Basic Creative Nonfiction Studio
     Creative Nonfiction Studio

Plus 3 courses from:
     Modern Familiar Essay
     Magazine Article Writing
     Publication Design & Graphics
     Literary Journalism
     Public Relations Writing
     Critical Writing for Mass Media

Thesis Option
Students whose work is above average and who are considering pursuing graduate work in creative writing may apply, after their intermediate studio, to pursue the BFA with Senior Thesis. To earn this special designation on their official transcript, students must take two semesters of Senior Thesis.  The thesis is a book-length manuscript of original work prepared during the student’s last year of study in his/her area of concentration (e.g., a collection of poems, a collection of short stories, a series of essays or a novel). The work will be judged on the basis of artistic maturity and technical control.  The level of excellence of the thesis should be commensurate with that expected by graduate programs; therefore, it should represent work of
the highest quality the candidate has been able to achieve in the program.

Minimum Credit Hour Requirement
The total minimum number of hours required for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is 130 credit hours which includes the academic core as well as Writer’s Workshop coursework.

Minor in Creative Writing
Four options exist for the Minor in Creative Writing:
     Emphasis in Fiction
     Emphasis in Poetry
     Emphasis in Creative Nonfiction
     Combined Genres

The Missouri Valley Reading Series
The Writer’s Workshop is sponsor of the Missouri Valley Reading Series in Contemporary Literature. Each year regionally and nationally prominent writers visit Omaha to give public reading performances from their work and to visit writing classes.

Our Students
Our students have distinguished themselves in graduate schools and professional careers, and as recipients of awards and publication in literary magazines. UNO student work has appeared in such distinguished journals as Black Warrior Review, Crosscurrents, Carolina Quarterly, Intro, Laurel Review, Omni, Prairie Schooner, Bellingham Review, and Poet Lore. Former students have won such prestigious awards as the National Poetry Prize, the Pushcart prize, the Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, the Larry Levis Prize, the Ohioana Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Award.

Graduate Study
Many Writer’s Workshop students continue their training at major graduate writing programs. Currently,100% of Writer’s Workshop students who have applied to graduate writing programs have been accepted. Students have gone on to study at Arkansas, Iowa, Columbia, Boston University, Oregon and elsewhere.

MFA in Creative Writing
The MFA in Writing is a two-year primarily distance education program of focused instruction for apprentice writers who have a strong commitment to a literary career but are unable to leave home, family or job to pursue their ambitions. Over a two year course of study the student earns 60 credit hours toward a Masters of Fine Arts degree in one of three genres: fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

The Faculty of the UNO Writer’s Workshop are practicing writers, actively publishing in the genres they teach.

Richard Duggin, Professor Emeritus, Teaching area: fiction
Director and Founder of University of Nebraska MFA in Writing and founder of the UNO Writer’s Workshop, Richard Duggin has taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for the past forty years. Duggin’s published work includes the novel The Music Box Treaty and numerous short stories which have appeared in such periodicals as American Literary Journal, Beloit Fiction Journal, Laurel Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Sun, Playboy, and elsewhere. His work has been cited by Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Playboy Magazine Best Fiction. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Merit Awards, and he has been awarded several artist’s residencies at Ragdale, Yaddo and the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. He has recently finished his third novel and is currently at work on a stage play.

Anna Monardo, Faculty Advisor, Teaching areas: fiction, nonfiction
Anna Monardo’s second novel, Falling In Love With Natassia, was published by Doubleday in May 2006. Her first novel, The Courtyard of Dreams (Doubleday, 1993; reprinted by, 2000), has been translated into German, Norwegian, and Dutch. Her stories, essays, and poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner,, The Sun, Indiana Review, Redbook, Other Voices, Clackamas Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, McCall's; and anthologized in A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers (University of Nebraska Press), The Dream Book Anthology of Writing by Italian-American Women (Schocken Books) and The Good Parts: The Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction (Berkley Books). Her fiction has also been included in the NPR reading series, "Selected Shorts." Originally from Pittsburgh, she received her BA from St Mary's College (Notre Dame, Indiana) and her MFA from Columbia University. She has also worked as an editor at McCalls, Time, and Random House. She is a 2000 and 2003 recipient of Merit Awards from the Nebraska Arts Council.

Art Homer, Chair, Teaching areas: poetry, nonfiction
Raised in the Missouri Ozarks and the Pacific Northwest, Homer worked on forest trail crews, as an animal caretaker, and as a journeyman ironworker before finishing his education at Portland State University and the University of Montana Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He worked for two years in the Montana Poets in the Schools, has edited Portland Review, CutBank, SmokeRoot Press, and The Nebraska Review—and has taught at several colleges and universities. Since 1982, he has taught poetry and nonfiction writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Writer’s Workshop, where he was named a Regents Professor in 1995. Homer’s most recent of four poetry collections, Sight is No Carpenter, was published by WordTech Press in November 2005. His nonfiction book, The Drownt Boy: An Ozark Tale (University of Missouri Press, 1994) was a finalist for the AWP Award in Creative    Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Des Moines Register, Kansas City Star, Western American Literature, Western Humanities Review and elsewhere. His awards include a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. He and his wife, poet & fine press printer Alison Wilson, are growing grapes in a corner of their 80 acres. They have built their own house in the opposite corner. Art is the proud owner of an old pickup and a young chocolate Lab to ride in the back.

Miles Waggener, Teaching areas:  poetry, nonfiction, poetry translation
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Waggener studied Spanish and English at Northern Arizona University before earning an MFA from the University of Montana, where he received the Richard Hugo Memorial Scholarship. His poems have appeared in such journals as Crazyhorse, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He was awarded an individual creative writing fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2003 and a prize from the Academy of American Poets at the University of Montana. Before joining the faculty of the Writer's Workshop at University of Nebraska Omaha, he taught creative writing and Latin American literature at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona. His collection Phoenix Suites won the Washington Prize and was published in 2003 by The Word Works. He lives in Omaha with his wife and fellow poet, Megan Gannon.

Part-time Faculty
Those currently or recently teaching in the Workshop are screenwriter and actor James Devney, poets Todd Robinson and Frank Shimerdla; fiction writers David Phillip Mullins and Katherine Wudel; nonfiction writers Mary Longo and Jenna Lucas.


Department of Writer’s Workshop
Lisa Sandlin, Chair

Interested in our Creative Writing program?
Contact Chantel Asselin Dunn, (402) 554.3244 OR