Status: Not Accepted

Room 212, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Five writers of different genres, race, and ethnicity expand the debate sparked by Junot Díaz’s “MFA vs POC” and continued by other writers of color including Viet Nguyen, Mathew Salesses, and David Mura. Since American creative writing programs are 74% white, what are the pros and cons in pursuing an MFA for aspiring writers of color? Can a PhD in writing and/or the arts help or hinder their path? What pedagogical alternatives exist for minority writers serious about their artistic development?

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: MFAPhDWoC-Outline.pdf



Namrata Poddar writes fiction, nonfiction, and curates a series on race, power and storytelling as interviews editor for Kweli. Her debut collection of stories titled Ladies Special, Homebound was a finalist for Feminist Press's 2018 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize.

Raina J. León is cofounder and editor in chief of The Acentos Review, and the author of three poetry books: Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: (dis)locate. She is a member of the Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo, and Carolina African American Writers Collective communities.

Shubha Venugopal holds an MFA in fiction and a PhD in English. She currently teaches at California State University Northridge and her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. She won Southern Indiana Review's fiction award, and was a finalist in Nimrod International fiction competition.

Vanessa Garcia is a multi-media/cross-genre writer working in fiction, nonfiction, and theater. She is a Huffington Post blogger and has written and reported for numerous publications, including the LA Times and the New York Times. She is also the founding artistic director of the Krane (www.thekrane.com).

Soniah Kamal


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center