Interview with Corey Campbell, Arizona State University

photoCorey Campbell has an MFA in Fiction from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and a BFA in Film Production from NYU. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, The Rattling Wall, Necessary Fiction, Conte, Anderbo, The Coachella Review, and Gulf Stream Online among othersShe has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and a writing scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She serves as the Program Manager of the MFA program at Arizona State University

Robin Tung: What does the MFA committee look for in a candidate?

Corey Campbell: The short answer is: exceptional writing ability. A more official response: “Selection is based on talent and promise, as demonstrated in the manuscript sample; the academic record; evidence of dedication and potential for growth, from the recommendations and personal statement; and compatibility of the applicant’s goals with the purpose and design of the ASU degree program.”

RT: Does the program have any clear stylistic leanings?

CC: Many texts are taught in our classes, both traditional and contemporary works. Each MFA student compiles his/her own comprehensive reading list, so the texts vary according to student interest and need. The program is open to all styles of writing.

RT: How closely do faculty work with students, and will any faculty be incoming or leaving in the next year?

CC: Our MFA program typically selects ten new students a year, five in fiction and five in poetry, so students receive much  individualized attention. In addition, during their final three semesters, students work one-on-one with faculty members in semester-long practica.

RT: Does ASU have LGBT writers in the program, and in what ways does the school support LGBT writers?

CC: Good question. Yes, we definitely have LGBT staff and students in the ASU community. For one, ASU’s LGBTQA Services on campus provides support, workshops, and information.  Also, [here] are some of the current LGBT student groups available: LGBTQA Coalition, Delta Lambda Phi, Gamma Rho Lambda (GRL)—Alpha Chapter, Gender WHAT?!, GradOUT, NLGJA-Journalism, Out Law, Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity.

RT: How are alumni faring post-graduation?

CC: ASU alumni publish regularly and have earned numerous awards, including a recent Stegner Fellowship and an NEA grant. Our graduates include: Caitlin Horrocks (author of This is Not Your City), Hugh Martin (Stegner Fellow and author of Stick Soldiers), Sarah Vap (recipient of an NEA Award and the Iowa Poetry Prize for American Spikenard), Tayari Jones (author of Silver Sparrow and other novels), Dexter Booth (2013 Cave Canem Prize winner whose collection is forthcoming from Graywolf Press), Matthew Gavin Frank (author of The Morrow Plots), Bonnie Nadzam (author of Lamb).


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