Northeast Ohio
Master of Fine Arts

Northeast Ohio
Master of Fine Arts





James Allen Hall reading,5.5.23, 7:30 PM

Reading & Q&A:
James Allen Hall

Friday, May 5, 2023, 7:30 PM
Venue TBA
Free & open to the public!
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2023 Graduates

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Current Students

Questions about courses, registration, requirements, internships, or your thesis? Find out everything you need to know on our Current Students page.

Prospective Students

Are you ready to join Ohio’s most beloved MFA writing consortium? Well you’re in luck—we’d love to have you. It’s time to broaden your horizons.

FALL 2023

Upcoming Courses


Workshop: Interiority as Genre or, Just Navel Gazing

Interiority, as it is traditionally constructed or considered, tends to be our best attempt at translating consciousness from one human, or non-human subject, to another. But for what purpose? In the genre we call creative nonfiction, perhaps memoir, primarily written in the first person, is our best example: the writer attempts to convey a series of inner thoughts which construct a narrative, history, or feeling over the course of a single day or several decades. Writing about the self however, or, a self, tends to face the rather long standing charge of “navel gazing,” perhaps even when self-discovery is crucial to one’s understanding of, and relation to, the world. In this class we will consider the necessity of developing, maintaining, and crafting a rich and thoroughly questioning interior life. The self as questioning, the self as character, will be central to developing an understanding of the world across categories of difference and, generating a formal voice which can sustain us as writers across a spate of genre conventions. This is a workshop course which will begin with readings by published writers like Melissa Febos, bell hooks, Mitchell Jackson, and Lacy M. Johnson for discussions on craft and generative exercises, before turning to workshop our own collective writing.


Craft and Theory: The Detective, the Crime, & the Context

This seminar will explore the craft and theory of detective novels, focusing on how they perform social realism and critique. We’ll explore the origins of crime fiction and the figure of the detective, the aesthetic traditions and possibilities of noir, and we’ll study a range of contemporary crime fiction with an astute sense of the sociopolitical from around the world. For the sake of this seminar, we’ll keep a strict sense of genre, reading “true” detective stories and novels, not literary crossover work. We’ll consider how the hard-boiled or world-weary state of the sleuth may yet be a form of “social optimism” (in the words of Lyn Hejinian); we’ll analyze the structure of the mystery plot, the workings of the “whodunit,” and the role of clue as detail; we’ll consider how detective fiction represents critical tensions between justice and oppressive social order. Our reading will include canonical work by writers such as Poe, Highsmith, Chandler, and/or others, alongside a selection of great contemporary works in the genre that explore pressing social issues including: racism in the criminal justice system, the opioid epidemic, misogyny in the world and in crime fiction, sex work and vulnerability to crime, dating apps and surveillance capitalism, crimes committed by the state, human trafficking, and more. Readings may include work by writers such as Tana French, Denise Mina, Philip Kerr, Liz Moore, Jane Pek, Val McDermid, Laura Lippman, Kate Atkinson, Susanna Moore, Attica Locke, Susie Steiner, Jane Harper, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Henning Mankell, etc.

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English Department
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Ave., RT 1815
Cleveland, Ohio  44115