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IndieMFA in Creative Writing


The IndieMFA program at WritingWorkshops.com combines the best elements of a low-residency MFA with a strong focus on the art and craft of writing. This unique structure prepares intermediate and advanced writers to meet the demands of the publishing marketplace while providing the flexibility needed to balance their writing education with other commitments.

Unlike traditional MFA programs, which can be challenging to complete while working full-time, our IndieMFA program allows you to complete your coursework online. This remote learning format provides the convenience and flexibility you need to integrate your studies into your busy life while also being a fraction of the tuition for most traditional and low-res MFA programs.

Our IndieMFA Faculty

Our IndieMFA roster of part-time faculty members for both online and destination retreats includes award-winning poets, novelists, and essayists who work across and between genres. Current and past faculty includes Ramona Ausubel, Marie-Helene Bertino, Kelly Luce, Chloe Caldwell, Christine Pride, Brandon Hobson, Morgan Talty, Ethan Joella, Alyssa Songsiridej, Isaac Fitzgerald, Chloé Cooper Jones, Stewart O'Nan, Diana Spechler, Karen E. Bender, James Tate Hill, Robert Anthony Siegel, Sandra Lim, Elissa Bassist, Amber Sparks, Yara Zgheib, Mark Gottlieb, Virginia Reeves, Kyle Minor, Jill Talbot, Michelle Kicherer, Sarah Herrington, Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Tawny Lara, Meredith Alloway, Peter Malone Elliott, Victoria Costello, Meg Eden Kuyatt, and more.

Our rigorous curriculum and expert faculty ensures that you receive top-tier instruction in writing and literature, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the competitive publishing industry. The IndieMFA program at WritingWorkshops.com is designed to help you develop your writing to its fullest potential and prepare you for a successful career as a published author.

Official Education Partner of Electric Literature

IndieMFA in Creative Writing at WritingWorkshops.com is an official education partner of Electric Literature, and we are the home for writers who want to strengthen their voice, develop a greater understanding of craft, and forge a path to publication along the way. 

Student Success

Since our founding in 2016, our students have signed with agents, published books, gone on to funded MFA programs such as The Iowa Writers' Workshop, The Michener Center for Writers,Syracuse, Michigan, NYU, Columbia, Brooklyn College, UC-Irvine, and have been awarded fellowships from the Tin House Workshop, The Vermont Studio Center and The Elizabeth George Foundation, among others, and have won literary awards for their writing.

IndieMFA Destination Retreats

Our IndieMFA program incorporates in-person residencies with our line-up of destination writing retreats around the world. Our retreats gather an intimate group of serious-minded writers for an intensive week of workshops, craft seminars, one-on-one conferences, and in-depth discussions on the craft and business of writing with a full schedule of afternoon and evening activities that bring each location to life. We travel to incredible locations including Iceland, Ireland, Tuscany, Paris, Dublin, New York City, Hawaii, Vermont, Santa Fe, New Orleans, and more.

Upcoming Programs and FAQ

Keep scrolling down for a list of upcoming IndieMFA Programs, as well as a full FAQ section.


IndieMFA Faculty & Upcoming Programs

Alyssa Songsiridej is the author of Little Rabbit, a Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and PEN/Hemingway Finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35, and a former editor at Electric Literature. The first story Alyssa acquired and edited for the magazine, “It is What It Is” by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, was selected by Min Jin Lee for the 2022 Best American Short Stories Anthology. Alyssa is also the author of more than one failed “drawer novel” and, in the course of drafting and failing and then eventually publishing a book, learned a great about what it takes to complete a solid project.


Award-winning novelist Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (A Strange Object), winner of Foreword Review’s Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), a Book of the Month Club selection and one of Elle’s Best Books. Her work has been recognized by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Sewanee Writers' Conference, Ucross Foundation, Art Omi, Ragdale Foundation, the Kerouac Project, and Jentel Arts, and has appeared in New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Sun, Salon, O, the Oprah Magazine, The Southern Review, and other publications; her digital short story "Between the Lines" went viral in 2022. She received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, where she was editor-in-chief of Bat City Review and editorial assistant for the O. Henry Prize Anthology. She is the editor of the Electric Literature’s Commuter and was a 2016-17 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2023, she was awarded the Wachtmeister Prize from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


In January 2025, immerse yourself in the art of storytelling amidst the vibrant, historic streets of New Orleans. Our New Orleans Writing Workshop Retreat gathers an intimate group of fiction and nonfiction writers for an intensive four-night experience of creativity, craft seminars, one-on-one conferences, and in-depth discussions on the craft and business of writing.

Led by National Book Award-finalist Karen E. Bender and award-winning memoirist Robert Anthony Siegel, our program is designed to be intentionally small, ensuring personalized attention and a close-knit community atmosphere.


This book proposal boot camp, limited to just 15 students, is designedfor folks ready to prioritize writing a book proposal. Tawny Lara, Quirkand Penguin Random House author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze, and the forthcoming card deck, The Sobriety Deck, designedthis intensive as the book proposal boot camp she needed in the earlystages of her publishing career. Tawny also has a Business degree, andshe's the CMO of a drink brand. Sheapproaches book proposals the same way she approaches business. Shesees book proposals as business and marketing plans for your book.


This mentorship is led by New Yorker contributor Frances Badalamenti, author of I Don’t Blame You, Salad Days and Many Seasons (forthcoming in November). This one-on-one program will take a deep dive into your fiction, autofiction, or memoir manuscript.


Michelle Kicherer is a book critic and arts journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Willamette Week, Portland Monthly and others. Michelle’s writing has been published in The Masters Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, 580 Split, The Deli, The Bay Bridged, Forbes, SF Station, The Cutaway, Into The Void, Portland Monthly and many others. She occasionally co-writes books, has ghostwritten several memoirs and nonfiction books, and a novel. Her novella Sexy Life, Hello will be released in audiobook Fall ‘24 and in print Winter ‘25.

This program will feature guest appearances from writers like Kimberly King Parsons, (We Were the Universe) Tessa Fontaine, (The Red Grove, Electric Woman), Susan Ito (I Would Meet You Anywhere), Diane Goettel (publisher of Black Lawrence Press), the Books editor at Portland Monthly and more! Past guests have included Pulitzer-nominated writer and McSweeney’s editor Andrew Leland (Country of the Blind) and Diana Goetsch, amongst many others. More featured guests to be announced, including industry professionals from the publishing world (small presses, publicists, media outlets, etc!).


Meredith Alloway is a Texas native who currently resides in Manhattan as a writer, filmmaker,  and producer. She has screened her films internationally at festivals like SXSW, AFI Fest, Overlook, and Bucheon, and her film 'Deep Tissue' played at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Her feature film ‘High Priestess’ is currently in development at David S. Goyer’s ('The Dark Knight') company Phantom Four with Eliza Scanlen and Justice Smith attached to star. She co-wrote the feature 'Forbidden Fruits' and it was chosen for 2023’s Black List. Diablo Cody and Mason Novick are producing and Meredith is attached to direct. She is a proud member of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, having written features for Sony and Universal Studios. Meredith partnered with Hulu, Sundance Institute, and 20th Century Digital Studios on her last two short films ‘Ride’ and ‘First Date,’ and was thrilled to direct Paris Jackson’s debut gothic music video ‘Let Down’ with Eli Roth EPing. As a journalist for over 12 years, she's written interviews and feature pieces for publications such as Vanity Fair, Playboy, Filmmaker Magazine, Nylon, and Indiewire. Meredith has worked as a producer and creative consultant for IFP, And/Or Studio, Juniper Jones, Gretel and We Are Social. She is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment and WME.


Meg Eden Kuyatt is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, including the young adult novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” and the middle grade novel in verse “Good Different,” a JLG Gold Standard selection (Scholastic, 2023). She is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and her work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Writer’s Digest, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park, and has taught creative writing at a range of places, including Anne Arundel Community College, Southern New Hampshire University online, University of Maryland College Park, MTSU Write, Eckleburg Workshops, and The Writer's Center in Bethesda since 2013.


Peter Malone Elliott is a critically acclaimed horror/thriller novelist and screenwriter, as well as a vastly experienced publishing professional. Most recently, Peter was the author of Blue Ridge, released in January 2024 from Level Best Books. Before that, he was a “Best Screenwriting, Motion Picture” nominee at the 2022 Leo Awards and the Grand Prize Winner of the highly prestigious Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition in 2018. Peter also ran Book Pipeline, a highly successful author-discovery platform, from 2019-2023. Through his meticulous editing and experienced industry knowhow, he has helped writers achieve literary representation, publishing contracts, and long-lasting careers of which they can be proud.


Victoria Costello is an Emmy Award-winning writer, teacher, and the author of six published non-fiction books, including her memoir, A Lethal Inheritance, and her debut novel of autobiographical fiction, Orchid Child (June 2023).


Led by Kathy MacMillan (she/her), author of eight fiction and nonfiction picture books and board books, including The Runaway Shirt, the Little Hands Signing series, and the She Spoke series. Kathy is a writer, editor, instructor, nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. She has published more than two dozen traditionally published books for children, teens, and adults. Kathy has served as both mentor and Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and was co-Regional Advisor for 5 years.


IndieMFA Destination Retreats
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the IndieMFA program?

Our IndieMFA Program is a continuing education program for intermediate and advanced creative writers. It focuses on refining writing skills, developing unique voices, and offering professional guidance from experienced instructors.

Who is IndieMFA for?

IndieMFA is designed for intermediate and advanced writers who are serious about their craft and committed to becoming dedicated, professional authors. We welcome writers from all backgrounds and experience levels, including international students (please note that classes follow USA time zones). Here are some common traits of our IndieMFA writers:

Serious and Dedicated: Our writers are deeply committed to their writing. We look for those ready to engage with our rigorous curriculum and push themselves to new heights.

Focused on a Project: Most of our writers are working on specific projects, such as a novel, memoir, poetry collection, or short story collection.

Publication-Minded: IndieMFA writers are often ready to engage more seriously with the publication process. Our program includes mentorship and guidance to help build confidence in pursuing publication.

Seeking Growth: Whether encountering a plateau or riding a wave of momentum, our writers seek clear direction and community support to facilitate real progress.

Can I participate in the IndieMFA program if I have a full-time job or other commitments?

Yes, our IndieMFA program is designed to be flexible and accommodate the schedules of working professionals. While there are regular deadlines, the program allows participants to manage their time effectively.

Can I participate in IndieMFA remotely, or do I need to be physically present?

IndieMFA is fully remote, operating entirely through our online platform, email, and Zoom, allowing writers from around the world to join our community. We tailor schedules to accommodate each participant’s availability throughout the program.

Who is eligible to enroll in the IndieMFA program?

The IndieMFA program is open to intermediate and advanced writers with a solid creative writing foundation who want to advance their craft. Previous workshop experience or publication history is recommended but not a prerequisite.

What are the key features of the IndieMFA program?

Depending on the selected program, IndieMFA Programs include personalized feedback, one-on-one mentorship, craft seminars, writing workshops, and guest lectures from established authors. It also offers opportunities for networking and professional development.

How can I learn more about the mentors and faculty?

We have a diverse and experienced team of mentors and faculty members leading the IndieMFA program. Please visit the individual program web pages to learn more about their backgrounds, qualifications, and expertise. Each page includes detailed bios and professional experience of our instructors, allowing you to get to know the mentors who will guide you through your writing journey.

Is the IndieMFA program affiliated with any university?

No, the IndieMFA program is not affiliated with any university. We are a continuing education program designed for intermediate and advanced creative writers. The IndieMFA offers a great alternative to traditional residential or low-residency MFA programs, providing high-quality instruction and a supportive writing community at a fraction of the cost. Our focus is on practical, hands-on learning and personalized feedback to help you refine your craft and achieve your writing goals.

How long is the IndieMFA program?

The duration of the IndieMFA program depends on the program that you select. Some programs are just a few weeks and include a cohort of your peers, while other programs are one-on-one and last many months. All IndieMFA classes include a structured curriculum with regular assignments, deadlines, and checkpoints to ensure steady progress.

Do you have any student success stories?

Yes! We have many student publications and success stories, which you can see here.

How do I apply for the IndieMFA program?

To apply for the IndieMFA program, please click on the individual program web page. We usually take applications through Submittable. In such cases, please fill out the application form and submit a writing sample, a statement of purpose, and any relevant supporting materials.

What kind of support can I expect during the program?

During the specific dates for each program, participants can expect continuous support from their mentors, instructors, and peers. This includes regular feedback on assignments, access to writing resources, and participation in a supportive writing community.

I want to take a class but I don’t know which is right for me. Does Writing Workshops offer advising or can I talk to someone about what course is right for me?

We’d love to help you choose a class. You can use our Contact Us Form or use the chat feature on the bottom left-hand side of your screen, and we can help you determine which class would be the best fit.

If I'm currently enrolled in an IndieMFA program, do I need to apply to a destination workshop if I'm interested in attending?

Yes, even if you are currently enrolled in an IndieMFA program, you will still need to apply to any Destination Workshops you are interested in attending. However, your application will receive priority consideration as an active (or former) IndieMFA participant. This ensures that our committed IndieMFA students have a better chance of securing a spot in these highly sought-after workshops. Please refer to our Destination Workshops web page for more details on the application process.

I applied to an online class or destination retreat. When will I hear back?

Depending on the competitiveness of the online class, your wait may vary. Our workshops are filled on a rolling basis, so as soon as we receive your application, we send it to the instructor. They get back to us after reading each application thoroughly, and then we’ll let you know if you’ve been accepted. Generally, you’ll hear back within a couple of weeks of submitting your application and a couple of weeks before the class is set to begin. For destination retreats, the wait could be longer due to the volume of applications we receive for each trip.

Will I receive a certificate upon completion of the IndieMFA program?

Yes, we are happy to provide a certificate of completion for participants who complete the IndieMFA program—a certificate of completion, which can be a valuable addition to your professional portfolio.

Will my IndieMFA Program Mentor write a letter of recommendation after the program concludes?

The answer is yes in many cases, but it will depend on their schedule and how much lead time you give them to complete the letter.

What is the cost of the IndieMFA program?

The cost of the program you select varies. You can visit individual program web pages for detailed information on tuition fees and payment options.

Are there any financial aid options available?

Financial aid options for eligible participants are provided through Affirm and Shop Pay. You can pay for our courses in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both of these options are available at checkout. Payment options through Affirm are subject to eligibility, may not be available in all states, and are provided by these lending partners: affirm.com/lenders. CA residents: Loans by Affirm Loan Services, LLC are made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license. Rates from 0% APR or 10-36% APR. Payment options through Shop Pay Installments are subject to an eligibility check and are provided by these lending partners: affirm.com/lenders. Options depend on your purchase amount, and a down payment may be required. State notices to consumers affirm.com/licenses.

What is the refund policy for the IndieMFA program?

Our refund policy for the IndieMFA program is designed to be fair and transparent. We understand that circumstances can change, and we strive to accommodate our participants as much as possible. For detailed information on our refund policy, including eligibility criteria and the process for requesting a refund, please refer to our refund policy here.

Could my class ever be canceled or rescheduled? What happens if it is?

If your workshop doesn’t reach minimum enrollment or your instructor has a scheduling conflict, we may reschedule or cancel up to the day class is set to begin. We feel peer engagement is a vital part of the classroom experience and want our students to feel their investment—of time, energy, and money—is worth it. If we reschedule or cancel, we will always give students the opportunity for a full refund, or we can help you transfer to a new class. If class is rescheduled, you are welcome to remain enrolled if the new dates work for you.

Who do I contact if I have to miss a class?

If you have to miss a class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible. Note that for online classes that take place over Zoom, you will not be able to view a recording of your class unless your individual instructor allows class recordings (in most cases, video recordings are available).

How often are new classes offered? How can I know when new classes are offered?

We update our course offerings on a rolling basis, so if you miss one session a new one will start relatively soon. Sign up for our newsletter to know about new classes as soon as they’re announced.

If I’m applying for a Traditional MFA Program after the IndieMFA Program, can you help me prepare my application materials?

We would love to help as you prepare to apply for MFA programs! Our students have gotten into MFA programs at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The Michener Center for Writers, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Michigan, NYU, Columbia, UC-Irvine, Brooklyn College, Alabama, Indiana, The New School, and many others. Check out our MFA Application Services for more information.

What are the IndieMFA community guidelines?

Our community guidelines are designed to foster a supportive, respectful, and productive environment for all participants in the IndieMFA program. By adhering to these guidelines, we ensure that everyone can benefit from a positive learning experience.

Respect and Inclusivity: Treat all participants, instructors, and staff with respect. Embrace diversity and foster an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and valued, regardless of background, identity, or experience level.

Constructive Feedback: When applicable, provide thoughtful, constructive feedback on peers' work. Focus on offering insights and suggestions that can help fellow writers improve their craft, while being mindful of maintaining a positive and encouraging tone.

Confidentiality: Respect the privacy of others by keeping shared work and personal information confidential. Please don't share or distribute any materials or discussions outside the program without explicit permission.

Professionalism: Maintain a professional demeanor in all interactions. This includes being punctual for meetings, meeting deadlines, and communicating clearly and courteously.

Creative and Academic Integrity: Uphold the principles of academic integrity by ensuring that all submitted work is your own. Plagiarism or any form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.

Collaboration and Support: Engage actively in discussions, workshops, and peer review sessions. Offer support and encouragement to fellow participants, and be open to receiving feedback on your own work.

Conflict Resolution: Address any conflicts or issues respectfully and promptly. If you encounter a problem that you cannot resolve, please reach out to your instructor or program coordinator for assistance.

By following these community guidelines, we can create a collaborative and enriching environment that benefits all members of the IndieMFA program.

How can I get in touch if I have more questions?

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact us here.

IndieMFA: We Take Your Writing Seriously.
At WritingWorkshops.com, we take your writing seriously. We place the highest importance on teaching the craft of writing so that students can produce meaningful and memorable work that has the opportunity to find a readership beyond the workshop. Essential to our mission, we want writers to be part of a literary community that they can take with them when the class ends. For many writers, finding a community is an essential step that leads them to take their work and craft more seriously. If you're looking for an excellent creative writing workshop, you've come to the right place! We hope you’ll take your next step with us and enroll in one of our many creative writing courses. Thank you for letting us be part of your writing journey. We'll do our part to walk along side you so that you can stay focused on the work that is most meaningful to you. We also want to keep you connected to the literary community. 
-Blake Kimzey, Founder & Executive Director