About The Program
The Wilkes University MA/MFA in Creative Writing Program was created in 2005 by two successful writers, Dr. J. Michael Lennon, the official biographer of Norman Mailer, and Dr. Bonnie Culver, author of the successful play, Sniper.
Lennon and Culver, leaving administrative positions at Wilkes (VP of Academic Affairs, Dean of College of Arts, Sciences, and Professional Studies, respectively) suggested to the then new president, Tim Gilmour, that Wilkes consider starting an online/low-residency graduate creative writing program. The two, supported by Wilkes, then spent the next two and a half years developing the program with a group of writers, teachers, agents, editors, and producers. Their goal was simple–to make the Wilkes program distinctive, excellent, and blue collar (as unacademic as they could get). Lennon and Culver wanted a program that was all about the writing and building a community of writers who support, encourage, and challenge each other.
The result was the Wilkes Low-Residency program which is now one of the largest of its kind in the country with students from 30 different states, a talented and successful faculty who are committed to writing and teaching (many of whom were the original core of 25 who helped build program from the ground up), and students and alums who are being published and produced! The first advisory board member was Norman Mailer, whose philosophy that academics and writing should be kept as distant as possible, helped influence the program’s core beliefs. After Mailer’s passing, William Kennedy was elected to his post on the Advisory Board.