A New Graphic Narrative Track Will Be Available at the Solstice Low-Residency Program

November 19, 2015

Josh Neufeld (self-portrait)The Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program, located at Pine Manor College, has opened applications for its new track in Comics and Graphic Narratives, with the first class to start next fall. This track will add to the offerings in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and writing for children and young adults.

“Working with Solstice MFA Program faculty members, aspiring writer-illustrators of comics & graphic narratives will have the opportunity to learn the essential craft of storytelling from a writer’s perspective,” reports Solstice.

Solstice has brought Josh Neufeld onboard as faculty in this area. Neufeld is the writer and artist of the New York Times-bestselling nonfiction graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge (Pantheon) and the illustrator of the New York Times-bestselling graphic nonfiction book The Influencing Machine (W.W. Norton).

AWP reached out to program director Meg Kearney with some questions about the new concentration, including what prompted them to start it.

“We have been thinking of adding Comics & Graphic Narratives for years. When I saw that David Small’s graphic memoir Stitches was named a National Book Award Finalist in 2009, I thought, At last, this genre is truly being accepted by the mainstream literary community! That’s when I first invited Josh Neufeld to come as a guest to our summer (2010) residency to teach a class on the subject. So it’s been under consideration since then. We were finally inspired by a current student, Jonathan Todd—who will graduate from the Solstice Program this January with a graphic middle-grade novel in hand as his creative thesis—to take the plunge.”

Besides Neufeld, who will serve as the main faculty member at launch, Solstice also has Laura Williams McCaffrey, a long-time Solstice faculty member. She “is also well-versed in the form,” Kearney said. “I’m sure C&GN students will want to work with her as well. Her novel Marked, composed of graphic novel–style vignettes, is due out in 2016.”

When asked whether or not applicants would need to be both writers and artists, Kearney said, “We see Comics & Graphic Narratives as a form of visual as written storytelling, so students will be expected to be working in both forms—and of course we also expect their skills in both forms will broaden and deepen during their time in the program. C&GN students will graduate with creative theses that show how text and art can complement each other to tell a story, whether it be fiction or nonfiction.”

The application deadline for the Comics and Graphic Narratives concentration starting with the summer 2016 residency/fall semester is April 15.


Image credit: Josh Neufeld (self-portrait)

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