Division of HumanitiesMFA in Creative Writing - Low Residency

Rainier Writing Workshop

"I am impressed with the caliber, commitment, and generosity of the faculty. Their willingness to engage with us in and out of our classroom made this experience unlike any other I've had."

Jim Heynen

Jim Heynen

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry







Mentor. Workshops and classes in fiction nonfiction, and poetry.

Statement: "For me, the greatest pleasure in teaching is spotting what is most promising in a poem, story, novel, or essay—and going from there.  Finding the possibilities in a piece of writing requires generous and attentive reading. It is hard, empathic work but can be far more rewarding than starting with the critical scalpel and going flaw-hunting. The flaws tend to dry up and flake off the page without much messy coercion if the reader and writer agree on what and where the real promise is.  One of my favorite metaphors I draw from the sport of curling: when teaching, I like to think of myself as the person with the broom clearing the way for another’s earnest intentions."


Jim Heynen: Best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” Heynen has also published poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction. His stories about the boys have been featured often on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, as well as on radio in both Sweden and Denmark. Astronaut George Pinky Nelson took a taped collection of the stories for bedtime listening on his last space mission. The most recent collection of these stories, The Boys' House, was named Editors' Choice for Best Books of 2001 by The Bloomsbury Review, Newsday, and Booklist.

He lived for many years in the Northwest and received a Northwest Booksellers Award for one of his story collections. He has received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in both poetry and fiction and in 1978 was selected as a US/UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship to England. He has published two YA novels with Henry Holt, and his novel, The Fall of ’99, is scheduled for February 2012 release from Milkweed Editions; a book of short-shorts, Ordinary Sins, is scheduled for 2013. Heynen lives in St. Paul, Minn.