George Saunders and Deb Olin Unferth on MFAs

Posted by Juliet Linderman

If you haven’t yet seen this piece over at the Faster Times, you should definitely take a peek. Chloe Cooper Jones chats with her former MFA professor Deb Olin-Unferth and DOU’s former MFA professor George Saunders about the pros and cons, merits and drawbacks, of MFA programs. The results of the conversation are not shocking, but it is, certainly, an engaging interview. Personally, I’ve never considered going for an MFA but until very recently I was dead-set on the idea of journalism school. That is, until someone whose opinion I greatly trust and whose work I greatly admire told me absolutely and definitively NOT to apply. I reconsidered and decided he was right: J-school is awesome, and I’ve heard fantastic things about it from many of my colleagues and friends, but it’s incredibly expensive (53k for 10 months. Seriously) and, in many ways, unnecessary. MFAs, on the other hand, are trickier to qualify and Cooper-Jones does an excellent job prompting very thoughtful answers from her subjects. There’s a lot to think about in here for those considering an MFA, but I think the take-home is still: If you want to get an MFA, go get an MFA. But read this piece anyway. UPDATE: Our bro Adam Wilson touches on the subject over at BlackBook.

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