"Learn to write a story," said Flannery O'Connor, "and then learn some more from the story you've written." In the Master of Professional Writing Program, we encourage you to listen to your stories, poems, scripts, because they will eventually reveal themselves to you. That might sound mystical, but it's actually practical. It's about paying attention, doing the work, writing, and re-writing.
Founded in 1971, MPW is a creative writing program with a long-standing commitment to addressing the pragmatic aspects of a writer's life. Because the writer is susceptible to economic forces, we explore ways to yoke a writer's temperament—word-based, word-making—to existing occupations and emerging forms of publishing and producing. MPW fosters the development of an individual voice through craft and workshop classes; and it also addresses the writer's capacity to make his or her living through writing after obtaining the degree.
MPW is designed for students who are interested in working across forms and genres. None of our students graduate with the same transcript. An individual voice requires an individual course of study, including one-on-one mentoring. At MPW we believe that studying one form or genre will benefit a writer in another form; therefore, all of our classes are open to all of our students.
We are also interested in community—we are a "high-residency program" based in Los Angeles. The terrain of the USC MPW student is not only the geography of the campus—the classroom, the stacks of Doheny Library, the lecture hall—it is also the city itself. Los Angeles is a place where stories are being told in a major fashion, and we host panels and workshops to introduce students to the catalytic energies of writers, agents, producers, and editors.
Our faculty is composed of working writers in every form—nonfiction, fiction, film, literary journalism, poetry, television, theatre, new media. This is an inspiring group of professional writers, many of whom write in multiple forms. This aesthetic and pedagogical flexibility creates a curriculum that is unique. From classes with Emmy Award-winning TV writers and L.A.'s own Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer to experimental hybrid poetics, mash-ups, and writing for radio—our students are being introduced to both the ways and the means to "make it new" and the possibilities of embarking on a life-path as a writer