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 five books of nonfiction, most recently The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska. The Way Winter Comes: Alaska Stories, which won the inaugural Chinook Prize, has recently been reissued in paperback. A book on bears is forthcoming from the University Press of Kansas.

She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her essays have appeared in In Fact, an anthology of the best of Creative Nonfiction (W. W. Norton), Alaska Quarterly Review, American Nature Writing, Orion, and Creative Nonfiction, among others.

Her awards include the Andres Berger Nonfiction award by Northwest Writers, Inc., a Sierra Club Nature Writing Award, and numerous awards from the Alaska Press Club. She has been a Bakeless Nonfiction Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and she is on the faculty of the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference.