Since 1947, the Writing Seminars has produced an extraordinary number of successful poets, novelists, short story writers, and screenwriters, many of whom have gone on to become luminaries in their fields. 

Graduates from our program have won the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur “Genius” Award, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Giller Prize, the Whiting Award, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Fiction, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dramatic Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and even a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since 2017, recent MFA graduates have won some of the most prestigious fellowships for young writers, including an NEA Fellowship, five Wallace Stegner Fellowships, and two fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. 

Some of the many celebrated writers and artists who have studied in the program include:

  • Louise Erdrich
  • Chimamanda Adichie
  • John Barth
  • Russell Baker
  • ZZ Packer
  • Wes Craven
  • Rosanna Warren
  • Porochista Khakpour
  • Elizabeth Spires
  • Susan Stewart
  • Esi Edugyan
  • Iris Chang
  • Gil Scott-Heron
  • Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Vikram Chandra
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Ralph Lombreglia
  • Jami Attenberg
  • Wyatt Prunty
  • Gina Apostol
  • Michael Martone
  • Padma Viswanathan
  • J.C. Hallman 
  • Jeffrey Blitz 
  • Ellen Akins
  • Natalie Shapero
  • Caki Wilkinson
  • John Gregory Brown