F125. MFA vs LMFAO: Our Nontraditional Paths to Publication (and Yours!)

D131-132, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am


It can sometimes feel like every successful writer went straight from college to MFA to Stegner to book deal. We did NOT do that, but everything worked out in the end. Five successful authors talk about not having an MFA, or getting one later in life (even after publication); how our lives went wide of the traditional path; how we made it all work; and whether that degree, or its absence, matters in the end. We’ll provide resources and advice for those who, like us, are going it alone.



Rebecca Makkai's novels are The Great BelieversThe Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower; her short story collection is Music for Wartime. Her work was chosen for The Best American Short Stories four times, and won a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She is Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago.

Heidi Durrow is the New York Times best-selling novelist of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky which won the PEN/Bellwether Prize. She is the founder and executive director of the annual film and book festival Mixed Remixed held in Los Angeles.

Nayomi Munaweera's debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, won the 2013 Commonwealth Prize for Asia. The New York Times called it "incandescent." Her second novel, What Lies Between Us drew comparisons to the voices of Michael Ondatjee and Jumpha Lahiri.

Lee Herrick

Mark Sarvas


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center