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."

Gary Ferguson

Gary Ferguson






Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction.

Statement: "Whether for an hour or for an entire semester, much of my writing instruction is centered on the experience-based, creative nonfiction essay. In addition to covering the mechanics of transition, character, dialogue, and setting, the personal nonfiction essay allows writers to readily identify who they are in a given work - to forge, in other words, the beginnings of authentic voice. I also spend a fair amount of time talking to students about dramatic device, uncovering the essentials of sound storytelling through an exploration of traditional legend and myth. Lectures, exercises, and student 'workshopping' are supplemented by various texts, including The Best American Essays 1999 (Houghton Mifflin) and In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton). Finally, we also discuss so-called 'writer's life' topics—issues of creative block, the nuts and bolts of selling one's work, and current trends in the publishing industry."

Gary Ferguson first answered the call to adventure at age 12, loading up his purple sting-ray bike with camping gear and riding with his older brother through the central Midwest. By age 18, he made his way across North America by rail and by thumb. At 25, Ferguson plunged full-time into the freelance writing life. 

He is the author of 16 books on nature, science and history, including The Great Divide: The Rocky Mountains in the American Mind, Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone, and Hawks Rest (National Geographic), which became the first book to win nonfiction Book of The Year from both the Pacific Northwest and Mountains and Plains booksellers associations. His nature and science-based essays can be heard on National Public Radio affiliates throughout the country. He is currently serving as the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer, University of Montana.