Jessie van Eerden Named Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
West Virginia Wesleyan College recently named Jessie van Eerden director of the Master of Fine Arts program. van Eerden teaches creative writing and composition and assumes leadership of the program after the death of its founder, Dr. Irene McKinney.
McKinney, a Wesleyan alumna, was the State Poet Laureate of West Virginia and began the MFA program in 2010.
“I believe that Dr. Irene McKinney has launched a program that will contribute to the rich literary life of Appalachia — we have a strong, well-published faculty, rigorous standards, and committed students,” van Eerden said. “We will graduate our first class this coming year. I was fortunate to work with Dr. McKinney as a visiting professor during the program’s inaugural residency last summer, and, as the new director, with the help of an exceptional MFA faculty, I plan to carry on Dr. McKinney’s vision for an outstanding apprentice-model graduate writing program. I am very honored to be on board.”
During the last five years, van Eerden has been teaching in Oregon and Washington, and she is happy to back in her native state and joining the Wesleyan MFA program.
“The program’s emphasis on the relationship between place and identity resonates deeply with my own creative work, and I can already see that this emphasis has also proved generative for the program’s current students,” she added.
van Eerden is the author of the novel Glorybound. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The Oxford American, River Teeth, Bellingham Review and other publications; and her prose has been included in Best American Spiritual Writing and Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature.
Wesleyan’s MFA is a two-year, low-residency program in Creative Writing, a 48 credit hour, design-your-own program in poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction. Students work closely with a different faculty mentor within their discipline through each residency and off-campus period.
Each semester begins with an intensive 10-day residency on Wesleyan’s campus featuring a series of craft lectures, seminars, workshops and readings presented by the MFA program’s core faculty of writers and the semester’s visiting faculty. The remainder of the coursework is completed at home. The mentor relationship is maintained through regular and frequent email, mail and /or telephone contact.
For more information about the MFA contact van Eerden at 304-473-8329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.