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."

Sherry Simpson

Sherry Simpson






Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction.

Statement: "My favorite moment is when a writer who's struggling with a piece or a direction hears the right question and then realizes what to do next. To me a workshop or mentorship doesn't involve 'teaching' or 'learning' so much as rediscovering what we already know but may have forgotten, overlooked, or masked. I think we're all apprentices to our work, and the heart of this relationship lies in the way we choose to be in the world. I want students to interrogate their experiences, trust their sensibilities, and open themselves to the possibilities revealed through their work and the work of others. I hope they'll cultivate the narrative expanse of the draft and the beautiful discipline of revision.  I'm drawn by language yoked to purpose – language that rises from intonation and rhythm rather than words that rely on mere ornamentation. I believe that facts offer us some of the most imaginative opportunities. And is it so much to ask that all this thinking and exploring could be fun now and then?"


Sherry Simpson is the author of Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska and two collections of essays, The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska and The Way Winter Comes, which won the inaugural Chinook Literary Prize. She has also written four travel books, most recently Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, which received the Benjamin Franklin Award in the travel essay and photography category.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Orion, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Superstition Review, AQR, and Bellingham Review.  Her essays have appeared in such anthologies as On Nature: Great Writers on the Great Outdoors, American Nature Writing, The Fourth Genre, Living Blue in the Red States, and In Fact, the best of Creative Nonfiction journal.  She has received the Andrés Berger Nonfiction Award and Sierra magazine’s Nature Writing Award, and she was a finalist for the Katharine Nason Bakeless Nonfiction Literary Publication Prize, sponsored by Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.  She is a professor of creative nonfiction writing in the Low-Residency MFA program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves on the faculty of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference.