The Nonfiction Writing Program

  • Students participating in a class discussion

    Craft, Culture & Criticism

    The Nonfiction Writing Program encourages students to explore new approaches to creative nonfiction while also developing an appreciation for the genre’s deep and fascinating history.

  • Collage of Authors

    Visiting Writers

    Both legendary and emerging artists in nonfiction are brought each year for visits to the Nonfiction Writing Program, where they offer master classes, Q&As and readings. 

  • Collage of Book Covers

    Our Alum

    In the past five years alone, our alum have published seventy-nine books and won thirty-one literary awards.  They’ve also secured full-time teaching positions at some of the best writing programs in the country.

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    Overseas Writing Workshop

    Sometimes we also leave the prairie and jet off to other countries to meet writers abroad who are studying and making essays in inspiring new ways. 

MFA in Nonfiction Writing

For the past forty years, the Nonfiction Writing Program has encouraged students to explore new approaches to creative nonfiction while also developing an appreciation for the deep history of the genre.

In small, aesthetically diverse courses such as Forms of the Essay, Readings in Nonfiction, Radio Essays, Literary Journalism, Memoir, Travelogues, and A History of the Essay, the Nonfiction Writing Program strives to create an atmosphere that’s both supportive and challenging, generating discussions and debates in a dynamic community.

During the program’s three years of study, our students receive funding through fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching positions as instructors in writing and literature. They're also eligible for an additional $50,000 in research grants every year to help them pursue their own writing projects.

Occasionally our students travel abroad in a series of overseas writing workshops that are led by the program's faculty, and while on campus they help judge the Iowa Prize in Literary Nonfiction and the annual Krause Essay Prize for innovative essays.

Outside of the classroom, students in the NWP help run a variety of literary organizations, including two highly popular reading series for graduate students, Anthology and Speakeasy. They help read submissions for the national literary magazine The Iowa Review and also edit their own journal The Essay Review.  And finally, they give back, volunteering their time as writing instructors in the Lloyd-Jones Institute for Outreach, through which we offer free and immersive classes in creative writing to people throughout Iowa and beyond.

To learn more about applying to the program, or to find out what our current students and alum have recently accomplished, slide through the gallery or click on the menu items to the left. The graduate handbook can be found here.

You can also contact us directly here.