Jessica Karbowiak's first book to be published
I am a 2011 graduate of Penn State’s M.F.A Program in Creative Writing and currently working as Visiting Assistant Professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. My PSU manuscript, These Things I Know, a short collection of fiction and creative nonfiction, has been picked up by Pink Fish Press, and is forthcoming mid-2012.
As an older student at Penn State that attended graduate school before, I was surprised at how much the kindness and belief in my writing ability emanating from Bill Cobb affected and validated me throughout this time. Grad programs are weird (perhaps by nature), somewhat isolated from “the real world” and its concerns, and peopled by a variety of students with different socioeconomic, cultural, and academic backgrounds. Without Bill’s constant support and the kindness of several other faculty members and staff at Penn State, I do not believe the experience would have been as fulfilling or beneficial to me as writer or person.
There are lots of grad programs out there. It may be difficult to figure out which one best suits your writing aesthetic, your personality, and financial needs. I think one must look for “the right fit”—not just academic and writing support, but a pervading humility and benevolence of spirit on the part of those teachers and students that will be important to you and for you, that make being part of a writing community beneficial. Penn State as well as UT-Austin, have been the backbones of my academic and writing careers, and this writer is truly grateful.