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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)

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Creative Writers are at the heart of our cultural industries. Poets, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, graphic novelists, magazine writers: they entertain, inform and inspire. For more than 50 years, UBC’s Creative Writing program has been producing writers who’ve shaped Canadian and international culture. A studio program with the writing workshop at its heart, the MFA focuses on the work created by students as the primary text. Through intensive peer critique and craft discussion, faculty and students work together with the same goal: literary excellence. 

For specific program requirements, please refer to the departmental program website

What makes the program unique?

UBC’s Creative Writing program was the first writing program in Canada, and is the largest and most comprehensive in the country. It is highly ranked internationally, and draws students from around the world for its multi-genre approach to writing instruction. Students are required to work in multiple genres during the course of the degree. As a fine arts program rather than an English program, students focus on the practice of writing rather than the study of literature.

Small, intensive workshops characterize the program, as does our breadth of offerings: with 12 genres of writing available for study there are more opportunities for learning than at any other writing program in the world.

Faculty are distinguished, working writers. We have 12 professors, an additional 9 permanent instructors and regularly bring in a wide variety of writers in residence and adjunct instructors from the writing community.

The School of Creative Writing’s quality of professors was the biggest draw for me. I also want the teaching experience TA’ing for undergraduate students can bring me. I want to ultimately teach creative writing at a post-secondary level and learning how to do so at UBC will be rigorous and rewarding.

ubc masters of creative writing

Brandi Bird

Quick Facts

Program enquiries, meet a representative, faculty of arts grad school info session.

Join us online to learn more about UBC’s Faculty of Arts, its graduate programs and how to apply.

In this session, we’ll hear about some of the latest research and initiatives happening across UBC Arts as well as highlight some of the more than 80 graduate program options. We’ll learn how Arts graduate students create and disseminate knowledge in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Creative and Performing Arts through teaching, research, professional practice, artistic production, and performance.

We’ll also focus on applying to graduate school, outlining the grad school application process, and hearing advice and perspectives from our panel of Arts faculty members on making your grad school application as strong as possible. 

Admission Information & Requirements

Program instructions.

The residency MFA program only has a September intake.

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum academic requirements.

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

  • Canada or the United States
  • International countries other than the United States

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement : 90

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement : 6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2024 intake, application open date, canadian applicants, international applicants, deadline explanations.

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest , sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)

Citizenship verification.

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Financial support.

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union .

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans .

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement .

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Options

Graduates of the MFA program have found success in varied fields related to writing and communication. The MFA qualifies graduates for teaching at the university level and many graduates have gone on to teach at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States and overseas as well as holding writing residencies. Many publish books and win literary awards. Others go on to work in publishing, and graduates have become book and magazine editors.

Although the MFA is a terminal degree, some graduates go on to further study in PhD programs in the US, UK and Australia. 

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.


Completion rates & times.

  • Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Belcourt, Billy-Ray (Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry)
  • Hopkinson, Nalo (Creative writing, n.e.c.; Humanities and the arts; Creative Writing: Speculative Ficton, Fantasy, Science Fiction, especially Other Voices)
  • Irani, Anosh
  • Koncan, Frances
  • Leavitt, Sarah (Autobiographical comics; Formal experimentation in comics; Comics pedagogy)
  • Lee, Nancy (Fiction; Creative Writing)
  • Lyon, Annabel (Novels, stories and news)
  • Maillard, Keith (Fiction, poetry)
  • Marzano-Lesnevich, Alex (Nonfiction)
  • McGowan, Sharon (Planning of film productions from concept to completion)
  • Medved, Maureen (Fiction, writing for screen)
  • Nicholson, Cecily (Languages and literature; Poetry)
  • Ohlin, Alix (Fiction; Screenwriting; Environmental writing)
  • Pohl-Weary, Emily (Fiction; Writing for Youth)
  • Svendsen, Linda (Fiction, television)
  • Taylor, Timothy (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Vigna, John (Novel and Short Story; Fiction, Creative Writing)

Sample Thesis Submissions

Related programs, same specialization.

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Distance) (MFA)

Same Academic Unit

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Theatre (MFA)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Film Production and Creative Writing (MFA)

At the UBC Okanagan Campus

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Further Information


Creative Writing combines the best of traditional workshop and leading-edge pedagogy. Literary cross-training offers opportunities in a broad range of genres including fiction, poetry, screenplay, podcasting, video game writing and graphic novel.

UBC Calendar

Program website, faculty overview, academic unit, program identifier, classification, social media channels, supervisor search.

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form .

ubc masters of creative writing

Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li

I really liked what the program would be offering, and I love the mountains as well as nature—I find a lot of peace and inspiration from water, wind, and clouds. While I was at an Explore Program for a month at the University of Victoria (I wanted to explore the West Coast), I managed to visit UBC...

ubc masters of creative writing

Fiona Revill

I have studied abroad in Australia, and at several local post-secondary institutions, but UBC has always felt like my academic home. The Creative Writing program is one of the best programs in the country, and I was really honoured to be accepted, as the competition is rigorous.

ubc masters of creative writing

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ubc masters of creative writing

UBC’s Creative Writing graduate program offers an intensive, diverse and collaborative environment for crafting literary excellence.

As well as writing workshops and craft seminars, we offer community-building opportunities with Brave New Play Rites, New Shoots, and PRISM international, our literary magazine.

Graduates of our MFA program have achieved success in publishing, filmmaking, theatre, podcasting, television, and many other fields. In addition to producing and publishing original work, graduates are qualified to teach creative writing at the college and university level.

ubc masters of creative writing

Program Options

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I chose to pursue graduate studies in creative writing at UBC because I wanted a collaborative, supportive environment in which to write and work. I wanted to engage closely with the diverse voices, ideas and perspectives of other writers, and to learn from these writers in ways that might challenge or surprise me.

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ubc masters of creative writing

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Ready to take your writing to the next level?

Gain the necessary tools, knowledge and resources to entertain, inform and inspire..

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University of British Columbia (Distance MFA)

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MFA Program

Poetry : Susan Musgrave, Cecily Nicholson, Bronwen Tate Fiction : Anosh Irani, Nancy Lee, Annabel Lyon, Maureen Medved, Alix Ohlin, A. E. Osworth, Linda Svendsen, Timothy Taylor, John Vigna Children/YA : Emily Pohl-Weary, Jordan Scott, Tanya Kyi Nonfiction : Mandy Catron, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich Graphic Novel : Sarah Leavitt Screenwriting : Sara Graefe Playwriting: Frances Koncan Writing for Television : Zac Hug Speculative Fiction : Nalo Hopkinson Indigenous Writing : Billy-Ray Belcourt

The program offers partial funding. The program offers teaching assistantships, graduate supportive initiative scholarships, and endowed scholarships.

This Optional-Residency (Distance) MFA program was the first distance education MFA program in Canada and remains the only full MFA which can be taken completely online. The program offers courses in graphic novel writing, playwriting, writing for television, screenwriting, and writing for children. Students are required to take coursework in three genres during the degree.

Most students attend an optional ten-day residency that is offered each July at the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver.

Paulette Bourgeois, Amy Jones, Ellen Keith, Amy Stuart, Sarah Selecky, Shyam Selvadurai, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Katherena Vermette

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University of British Columbia

British columbia, canada.

A student-focused program, the UBC School of Creative Writing combines the best of traditional workshop and leading-edge pedagogy. Our literary cross-training offers opportunities in a broad range of genres including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplay, podcasting, video game writing and graphic novel.

We strive to create a dynamic and inclusive environment that encourages artistic experimentation and community building. We’re extremely proud of the national and international literary achievements of our many graduates, as well as their generous contributions to the greater creative community.

We offer a 2-year course of resident study or a 2-5 year course of study by distance education, both leading to a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. We also offer a BFA and undergraduate minor degree in Creative Writing.

Funding opportunities include Teaching Assistantships for Graduate Students (working in Creative Writing courses and in local high schools), journal editorships, work-learn opportunities, and a number of substantial scholarships for Canadian, International and Indigenous students.

ubc masters of creative writing

Contact Information

E471-1866 Main Mall Vancouver British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1 Phone: 604.822.3023 Email: [email protected] https://creativewriting.ubc.ca/

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing +

Undergraduate program director.

Requirements: 2 years of general studies, and in years 3 and 4, a Creative Writing Major (6 writing workshops/tutorials plus 4 or 5 outside courses) and honors (9 writing workshops/tutorials and thesis) plus 5 outside courses. 3-genre requirement. Double Majors can be taken as BFA or BA, where there is agreement of the departments involved. Student can then name the degree.

The Creative Writing Program of the Department of Theatre, Film, and Creative Writing offers a program of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (double Major) and Fine Arts (single Major). Instruction is based on the premise that promising student-authors can benefit from judicious criticism and the chance to develop their abilities in an academic setting. Workshops, conferences, and tutorials are designed to focus attention on the student's own work. Reading assignments may be made in the department's magazine of current writing, Prism International, and other relevant journals and books. There are no examinations, and grades are based on the writing done and on participation in workshops throughout the year. Course offerings include workshops and tutorials in Children's Literature, Radio Plays, Nonfiction Prose, Lyric and Libretto, Screen and TV Plays, Stage Plays, Novel or Novella, Short Story, Poetry, and Translation.

Each course is restricted to 15 students. Applicants wishing to enter freshman/sophomore classes will be admitted if their submission of 20-25 pages of recent original fiction, imaginative nonfiction, drama, or poetry, or a combination of these, is judged acceptable by the Program. Students wishing to pursue a major in Creative Writing should apply at the end of their second year of study by submitting to the department a written request accompanied by a 30-page manuscript.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing +

Graduate program director.

The Creative Writing Program offers a 2-year course of resident study leading to a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Students are required to write in 3 of the 11 genres offered by the program; to produce regular, substantial quantities of work, and to maintain continuing interaction with the staff.

Workshops are designed to focus attention on the student's own work in advanced studies in the writing of poetry, fiction, drama (stage, screen, television, radio), creative non-fiction, translation, lyric and libretto, graphic novel and writing for children and young adults. MFA degrees are offered in Creative Writing (including a concentration in translation), in Creative Writing-Theatre for playwrights, and Creative Writing-Film for screenwriters. The last two joint degree programs require acceptance by the Theatre and Film programs respectively.

All candidates are selected on the basis of their submitted portfolio of original writing. Scholarship funding and Teaching Assistantships are available. Please see our website for guidelines.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Optional-Residency) +

The Creative Writing Program offers a full-time or part-time course of study by distance education leading to a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Students working in the program take a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years to complete their degree. Students study through online workshops, complemented by an optional 10 day summer residency at our Vancouver, BC campus.

As with the on-campus MFA, the Optional-Residency MFA is largely a studio program. Although students generally specialize in one area, they are required to write in three separate genres during the course of their degree; to produce regular, substantial quantities of work, and to maintain continuing interaction with the staff.

Workshops are designed to focus attention on the student's own work and the process of peer critique and discussion.

Thirty-six credits of work, including a creative thesis, are required for the MFA. The MFA degree awarded on completion is identical to the degree granted to on-campus students.

All candidates are selected on the basis of work submitted. Scholarship funding and Teaching Assistantships are available. Please see our website for guidelines.

Maureen Medved

Maureen Medved’s novel The Tracey Fragments was published by House of Anansi Press. Over the years, Maureen’s writing as well as adaptations of her work have been published in literary journals, magazines and produced for stage and screen. Maureen’s screen adaptation of The Tracey Fragments opened the Panorama program of the 57th annual Berlin International Film Festival and won the Manfred Salzgeber Prize, selected by jury for a film “that broadens the boundaries of cinema today.” The film has gone on to feature at a number of international film festivals, screened at MOMA and has also garnered other nominations and awards, including a Genie Award nomination for Adapted Screenplay.

In 2008 a French language version of her book won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, awarded to C& L Chabalier. She also designed a course in writing for new media for the Creative Writing Program, and, as part of her research, currently explores creative writing opportunities in new media. In 2009, she received the Artistic Achievement Award from Women in Film and Television (Vancouver). Her novel Black Star came out in April 2018 with Anvil and won the CAA Fred Kerner Book Award. She is a film reviewer and an Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. Maureen is currently completing her third novel, a book of creative non-fiction as well as other projects for film.


Linda Svendsen

Linda’s novel, Sussex Drive, was published by Random House Canada in 2012 and was a CBC Bookie Awards nominee in the comedy category. Linda’s story collection, Marine Life, was published in Canada (HarperCollinsCanada), the U.S. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and Germany (Residenz Verlag), and was made into a feature film. As well, it was an LA Times First Book Award nominee. Her stories have appeared in Seventeen, Room, The Atlantic, Saturday Night, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, Fiddlehead, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best Canadian Stories and other anthologies such as The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women in English, The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories, I Know Some Things: Stories About Childhood by Contemporary Writers, edited by Lorrie Moore, and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th Edition. Linda graduated with her MFA from Columbia University, held the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford and the Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe, and received two National Endowment of the Arts Awards.

Linda recently received CMF funding ($20,000) to develop Lunch, a half-hour dramedy series. She also created a one-hour pilot script for a limited crime series. She co-produced and co-wrote Human Cargo, CBC’s six-hour dramatic limited series about the impact of war and globalization upon refugees, which shot in Vancouver and South Africa. The series garnered the 2004 Peabody Award, the Robert Wagner Narrative Screenwriting Award from the Columbus International Film and Television Festival, as well as seven Geminis. It was invited to the Rencontres Internationales de Télévision in Reims, France, and sold to 82 countries. Other long-form writing credits include Murder Unveiled (with Brian McKeown), At The End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, and The Diviners, adapted from the Margaret Laurence novel. She has written episodes for Airwaves and These Arms of Mine. In 2006, she received the John Simon Guggenheim Award.


Keith Maillard

Keith Maillard is the author of fourteen novels, a book of poetry, and a memoir. Twelve of his titles have been shortlisted for or won literary prizes. Light in the Company of Women was a runner-up for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; Motet won that prize. Hazard Zones was short-listed for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and Gloria was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Dementia Americana won the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. The Clarinet Polka was awarded the Creative Arts Prize by the Polish American Historical Association. Of his quartet, Difficulty at the Beginning, the first three volumes – Running, Morgantown, and Lyndon Johnson and the Majorettes– were shortlisted for the Weatherford Award while the quartet’s final book, Looking Good, was longlisted for the Relit Award. Most recently, his novel Twin Studies was awarded the 2019 Alberta Book of the Year Award in the fiction category.

Maillard’s nonfiction essays and articles have been published in newspapers, journals, and anthologies throughout his long career. In 2018 he contributed to Refuse: Canlit in Ruins, edited by Julie Rak, Hannah McGregor, and Erin Wunker. In 2019, he published his first creative nonfiction book, Fatherless: A Memoir.


Nancy Lee is the award-winning author of two works of fiction, Dead Girls and The Age, and a poetry collection, What Hurts Going Down (McClelland & Stewart, 2020). Her books have been published in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, and her work most recently appeared in Ploughshares, The Adroit Journal, The Puritan and Arc Poetry Magazine. Nancy has served as Writer-in-Residence for Historic Joy Kogawa House, the city of Richmond, and the city of Vincennes, France. Together with Annabel Lyon, Nancy is co-creator of the internationally acclaimed EdX education series, How to Write a Novel.


Annabel Lyon

Annabel Lyon published her first book, Oxygen, a collection of stories, in 2000. The Best Thing for You, a collection of three novellas, followed in 2004. She has written two books for children, All Season Edie (2009) and Encore Edie (2010).

Her first novel, The Golden Mean, was published in 2009 and won the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The Sweet Girl, a companion to The Golden Mean, was published in fall 2012. Imagining Ancient Women, the text of her Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture, was published the same year. She won the Engel-Findley award for a body of work in 2015. Her latest novel, Consent, was published in fall 2020.


Timothy Taylor

Timothy Taylor is a bestselling and award winning author of six book-length works of fiction and nonfiction. He emerged on the writing scene in 2000, when three of his short stories were selected for a single edition of the Journey Prize Anthology. His story Doves of Townsend won the Journey Prize that same year and was included in his collection of short fiction Silent Cruise, which was itself later named runner-up to the Danuta Gleed Award. Taylor’s first novel Stanley Park was released to critical acclaim in 2001 and was nominated for a Giller Prize, a Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize as well as both a Vancouver and BC Book Award. His 2011 novel, The Blue Light Project, was a bestseller in Canada and went on to win the CBC Bookie Prize in fiction. His most recent novel is The Rule of Stephens and was released in 2017.

Taylor has also been a prolific journalist and creative nonfiction writer over this same period. He has published hundreds of feature articles in the past 15 years in such publications as The New York Times, EnRoute, Walrus, 18 Bridges, The Report on Business Magazine, Hakai and many others. He has won or been nominated for over two dozen magazine awards, been widely anthologized, and seen his work appear in both the US and France. His most recent nonfiction book, published by Nonvella in Vancouver, is Foodville, a food memoire and meditation on foodie obsessions in western consumer culture. In addition to his writing and teaching at UBC, Taylor travels widely, having in recent years spent time on assignment in China, Tibet, Japan, Dubai, Brazil, the Canadian arctic and other places. He lives in Point Grey Vancouver with his wife, his son, and a Brittany Spaniel named Keaton.


Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Alberta and has been both a Rhodes Scholar and a PE Trudeau Foundation Scholar. He is the author of This Wound is a World (Frontenac House 2017), winner of the 2018 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field (House of Anansi Press 2019), longlisted for Canada Reads 2020, and A History of My Brief Body (Hamish Hamilton 2020), finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.


Emily Pohl-Weary

Emily is the author of three novels, two collections of poetry, a biography, a series of girl pirate comics, and a podcast drama script. Her most recent books are the young adult novel Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl and the poetry collection Ghost Sick.

She has worked in many different positions within the publishing industry, having edited novels, curated an anthology about female superheroes, published feminist literary magazine Kiss Machine, and been the acquisitions editor for a line of high school English textbooks.

Emily holds a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Prior to joining UBC Creative Writing, she facilitated long-running creative writing workshops in community settings.


Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica, and spent the first 16 years of her life in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and the US before her family moved to Canada. She writes science fiction and fantasy, exploring their potential for centering non-normative voices and experiences. Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, won the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest in 1998. She has published six novels and numerous short stories. Her writing has received the John W. Campbell Award, Locus Magazine’s Best First Novel Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the World Fantasy Award, the Andre Norton (Nebula) Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, the Inkpot Award, the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award, and Canada’s Prix/Aurora Award. From 2018 to 2020, she was the lead writer of “House of Whispers” (co-writer Dan Watters), a series of comics published by DC Comics and set in the universe of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman.” She has received honorary Dr of Letters degrees from Anglia Ruskin University and the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Hopkinson has been a Writer-in-Residence a number of times at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshops in San Diego, California and Seattle, Washington. She was the editor of the fiction anthologies Mojo: Conjure Stories, and Whispers From the Cotton-Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction. She was co-editor of So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction (with Uppinder Mehan), Particulates (with Rita McBride), Tesseracts 9 (with Geoff Ryman), and the fiction editor (with Kristine Ong Muslim) of “People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction,” a special issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

Hopkinson was one of the founders of the Carl Brandon Society, which exists to further the conversation on race and ethnicity in speculative fiction. As a professor of creative writing at the University of California Riverside, she was a member of a research cluster in science fiction, and of the University of California’s “Speculative Futures Collective.” In 2021 the Science Fiction Writers of America honoured her with the Damon Knight Memorial “Grand Master” Award, recognizing her lifetime of achievements in writing, mentorship and teaching. In 37 years she was the youngest person to receive the award, and the first woman of African descent.


Alix Ohlin is the author of six books, most recently the novel Dual Citizens and the story collection We Want What We Want (2021). She has been a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, among others, and her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Walrus, The New York Times, Lithub, The New Yorker, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts.


Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt is a cartoonist and educator whose particular areas of interest include autobiographical comics, formal experimentation in comics, and comics pedagogy – developing strategies for teaching comics creation as well as exploring how comics creation shapes students’ work in other forms of writing.

Sarah’s first book, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (2010), was published in Canada and internationally, and translated into French, German and Korean. Tangles was the first comic to be nominated for a Writers’ Trust Award, and has become a widely-studied work in the growing field of comics and medicine. A feature-length animation of Tangles is in development with Giant Ant animation studio and a major American production company.

Sarah’s second book, Agnes, Murderess, was published in Canada in September 2019, and won a Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature (fiction) and an Alberta Book Publishers Award (speculative fiction). Agnes was a finalist for both Canadian comics prizes, the Doug Wright Awards and Joe Shuster Awards. Sarah has also published short comics in magazines and anthologies, as well as self-publishing her work in printed zines and online.

Her current work-in-progress is a collection of short, experimental comics about her partner’s death in 2020.

Sarah has been developing and teaching comics classes in the UBC School of Creative Writing since 2012. She is also an instructor in the new Biomedical Visualization and Communication Certificate, a collaboration between the UBC Faculty of Medicine Hackspace for Innovation and Visualization in Education (HIVE) and the Centre for Digital Media.

Sharon McGowan

Sharon McGowan’s most recent film is the hour-long documentary Bearded Ladies: the Photography of Rosamond Norbury, which premiered at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival in 2015. This film was also produced by Peggy Thompson, the co-producer and writer of Better than Chocolate.

THE OLDEST BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE WORLD, which she directed and produced for Chum TV, follows the “Retreads”, women with an average age of 72 as they prepare to compete at the intimidating World Masters Games. The New York Times described the film as “compassionate, heartfelt and inspirational.”

Sharon McGowan is also known for producing the feature film box office hit BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and was released in the US where it played on over 300 screens.

McGowan produced the feature films THE LOTUS EATERS, which won three Genie Awards including Best Screenplay and SAINT MONICA, which had its international premiere at the Kinderfest Section of the Berlin Film Festival and won the Cultural Expressions Award – Best Narrative Feature at the 2003 Sarasota Film Festival. She served as consulting producer on three independent feature films: Gary Burns’ A PROBLEM WITH FEAR and WAYDOWNTOWN and Bruce Spangler’s PROTECTION.

She received the Woman of the Year Award from Vancouver Women in Film and Video in 1999 and is also an Honorary Lifetime Member of that organization. She has an MFA in Film Studies from UBC.

Bronwen Tate

Bronwen Tate is the author of the poetry collection The Silk the Moths Ignore (Inlandia Institute 2021), National Winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. Midwinter Constellation, a poetry collaboration, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Bronwen earned an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. Her poems and essays have appeared in publications including CV2, Bennington Review, The Rumpus and Contemporary Literature. After completing a Postdoc as a Thinking Matters Fellow at Stanford, Bronwen taught creative writing and literature at Marlboro College in Vermont before coming to UBC. Her work has been supported by Stanford’s DARE (Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence) Dissertation Fellowship, as well as by fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center and Vermont Studio Center.


John Vigna’s novel, No Man’s Land, was published in Fall 2021. His first book of fiction, Bull Head, was received with critical acclaim in Canada and the US in 2012 and published in France by Éditions Albin Michel in 2017. It was selected by Quill & Quire as an editor’s pick of the year and was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. John was named one of 10 writers to watch by CBC Books

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Related career(s), the university of british columbia - vancouver - faculty of graduate studies, creative writing (mfa) - master of fine arts in creative writing (distance), description:.

Creative Writers are at the heart of our cultural industries. Poets, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, graphic novelists, magazine writers: they entertain, inform and inspire. For more than 15 years, UBC's Creative Writing program has been educating writers through distance education in a program which complements our long-standing on-campus MFA program.


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