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."

Barrie Jean Borich

Barrie Jean Borich




Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction.

Statement: "Writing is a process: part thought, part instinct, part wish. Every honest draft holds some glimmer of what your work might become. To write is to try, try, and try again, until we’re stunned to arrive at the revelation of new understanding. Through study of creative nonfiction literary form and strategy we find new ways to uncover meaning and render actuality, which is why I ask students to analyze craft. Yet I no longer believe, as I did when I began teaching over twenty years ago, that my first job is to identify and repair flaws on your draft pages. Editing too soon is futile. Writing is revision. Critique is suggestion. First I help you identify and re-identify the intention, voice and form of your project, and will often suggest you write it again, with one ear keyed to what you know and the other open to ongoing attempt. Write until you’ve surprised yourself; then we’ll attend to the sound, pace, texture, language, image and other points of unfinished beauty."


Barrie Jean Borich is the author of Body Geographic (University of Nebraska Press/American Lives Series), winner of a Lambda Literary Award in Memoir and an IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) Gold Medal in Essay/Creative Nonfiction. Her previous book, My Lesbian Husband (Graywolf), won the ALA Stonewall Book Award. Her work has been cited in Best American Essays and Best American Non-Required Reading and she’s currently working on a book-length essay about repurposed industrial landscapes, urban joy, and riding her bicycle on the mean streets of Chicago. Borich was the first creative nonfiction editor of Hamline University’s Water~Stone Review and is currently a member of the creative writing faculty of the English Department/MA in Writing & Publishing Program at Chicago’s DePaul University, where she’s developing Slag Glass City, a creative nonfiction and new media journal focused on sustainability, identity and the arts in urban environments. Borich earned her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop and lives now with her spouse Linnea, a few blocks from Lake Michigan, in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, which was recently voted the most “incomparable” gayborhood in the world.