"The most recalcitrant MFA's don't last long. They leave nurturing the sense that the philistines will never understand their precious vision. In some cases that's what they sign on for in MFA programs � validation of their precious vision, because if you get nothing else from the "writing can't be taught" saw, you get that � if nothing can be taught, nothing can be wrong. "

        - Tim Tomlinson
           Co-Author, The PMFA

Purchase The Portable MFA

The Portable MFA
      In Creative Writing

Writers obtain the core knowledge of a prestigious $50,000 MFA program without paying tuition. With sound, nuts-and-bolts instruction and real-world career advice, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing is the only book speaking directly to the tens of thousands each year who don't attend MFA programs. Topics include magazine writing, memoir and essay, poetry, fiction, novel writing, and playwriting:

    * Inspiration and tips on revision, stamina and productivity
    * Clear instruction on the craft behind the art
    * Detailed reading lists to expand writers' literary horizons

From Barnes and Noble, 6/06:

The Best in a Crowded Field
New York Writers Workshop's PORTABLE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING is the single best book I've seen about the craft writing, and about the murky world of the MFA. If you aspire to write, the book covers the basics for beginners and it offers a challenge for more advanced writers of everything from fiction and poetry to plays and non- fiction. And if you're wondering about the value of the MFA degree, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons.

Also recommended: Janet Burroway's THE CRAFT OF FICTION, Flannery O'Connor's THE HABIT OF BEING, Annie Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, Natalie Goldberg's WRITING DOWN THE BONES.


"The Portable MFA" is a creation of the New York Writers Workshop, an alliance of experienced, professional writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays and screenplays who live and teach in New York City.


"I read your book and thought it was great! I found the different chapters not only helpful and informative, but cohesive and a pleasure to read. I would recommend this book to my writing colleagues with enthusiasm! – E. W-B, PhD, New York

"I'm reading your book The Portable MFA in Creative Writing and enjoying it. I'm in an MFA program: Whidbey Writers Workshop, a low-residency program about to begin its third semester, and accredited by the state of Washington. Whidbey is an island in Puget Sound. Last semester the writing instructor did pretty much all of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7, in your list of flaws. Your description of the 'flaws' in workshop leaders validated my experience in the semester just past (my first). I've begun working on the 'assignments' in the fiction chapter. The examples are very helpful. I am ignorant about mainstream fiction, so I just came back from our local bookstore with Edith Wharton's book and Coetzee's books you list at the end of the chapter. Than you for writing the book. I hope you sell Millions. – P.A., WA

I have an unsolicited plug for the new book, THE PORTABLE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING (from Writer's Digest books), co-authored by Charles Salzberg, his colleague Tim Tomlinson, and others. I am just delving into it and finding it very worthwhile. Available on Amazon and bookstores widely. – S.P., Nashville, TN.

I just wanted to send a quick word or two about THE PORTABLE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING. I read it over the weekend, and it is really terrific. I usually don't like books about writing but I really appreciated the subtlety and humor in your fiction section. I attended the University of Colorado's Master's program in creative writing, and
felt much the way you did-- it was fun, LOTS of fun, and I had time to begin my novel and write two chapbooks as well, but I didn't learn a whole lot.--PW, Massachussetts

I am enjoying your Portable MFA. … The book has a lot of truth in it. I like your examples about getting started on exercises and will try one. It's amazing that after all these years you still captured your outrage at the MFA's inadequacies. --TGC, New Jersey

… I received the 'Portable MFA' and I love it. I have 'Writing Fiction' by Janet Burroway which covers the undergrad material and now I have the graduate material. Yey! It goes with me everywhere. Thank you,
thank you. --TSM, New York