Division of HumanitiesMFA in Creative Writing - Low Residency

Rainier Writing Workshop


"My expectations are exceeded left and right."

The Rainier Writing Workshop features a distinguishing "outside experience."

Intended to foster an independent writing career and to introduce participants to broader aspects of the writing life, each participant will design an experience to fit his or her individual needs and interests.  Some examples are:

  • residencies (such as Arts Centers) where participants may work on a sustained project;
  • experiences where participants may encounter voices and approaches other than those of our faculty;
  • study abroad;
  • travel, here or abroad;
  • innovative internships;
  • community service;
  • publishing projects;
  • teaching, or developing curricula; 
  • other projects directed toward future literary activities.

The Program Director will guide the design of these programs and will act as the official advisor for this aspect of the program.
The program will help arrange for an independent residency at writers' centers and retreats and/or study abroad in a variety of programs in literature, writing, or language.  We have a special arrangement with two such centers and we will be happy to contact others or suggest programs of study abroad.  In addition, we will provide letters of recommendation for internships, summer workshops, etc.


The Vermont Studio Center has offered Rainier Writing Workshops two partial scholarships for a month-long residency in Johnson, VT.  They have a number of visiting writers available for conferences, so the month would be determined by the genre in which you are working.  Some travel money may also be available.

For more information: Vermont Studio Center

The Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota will guarantee one of its few spots for writers to someone from the Rainier Writing Workshops; this opportunity is partially funded by the program's support for the center's Deborah Tall fellowship.  Certain months will not be available.

For more information: Anderson Center

Other possibilities:

Other centers include the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Centrum.  Centers in other countries include the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and Hawthornden in Scotland.

Summer workshops where participants can hear new and different writers might make up a part of an outside experience.  This might include a workshop abroad, such as the Prague Summer Workshop, or a working assistantship at Centrum, Port Townsend, WA.  A complete listing of such workshops can be found in Poets & Writers magazine or the AWP Writer's Chronicle.

Some Past Examples...

Residencies and Writers Conferences

In order to spend crucial time writing, RWW participants attended Vermont Studio Center, The Anderson Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum, Soapstone, Montana Artists’ Refuge, the David White Center in Costa Rica, Katchemak Bay Conference, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Fishtrap, and various regional arts centers. 


In order to enhance current projects, RWW participants traveled to England, Japan, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and rural Pennsylvania.  One made a cross-country trip sampling pizza in cities along the way. 

Study and Research

RWW participants enhanced their knowledge in the following ways: Jack Straw Writer’s Program; course in Oregon Rock Art; New York City residency to research Henry James; MOHAI Seminars, the Sitka Symposium in Alaska, an NEH Summer seminar; learning Spanish in Nicaragua. One drove 17,000 miles around the country to research a series of essays. 


In order to develop teaching skills, RWW participants led a number of local workshops; designed courses for the Attic Institute; developed courses at the college and high school levels; worked as writers in the schools; taught writing in a prison in Mexico. 

Community Service

RWW participants engaged in the following activities: founding a local Reading/Open Mic series; completing a Public Art Project; working to help elders write their life stories; participating in the “Music & Healing Project”; organizing a Latino Literary Festival; organizing a city-wide book fair.


Internships with national presses; created an eBook publishing company; served as editor of a magazine; edited an anthology; toured art museums; features and interviews; collaborations with other artists; writing for radio; working in a shipyard; working with Nisqually tribal elders; a sixteen-day solo wilderness retreat.