Events
  • Sitting in Sound

    Jul 15| Special Event
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    Image: Electronic Sound Bath
     

  • L: Nora Jane Slade, Kate Mouse Mickey Moss, 2014, Photo transfer and fabric paint on sweatshirt, cardboard and found objects. R: Marisa Takal, I Love My Sister, 2016, Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 inches.

    Opening Reception: I Wish I Was a Telephone: Nora Jane Slade and Marisa Takal

    Celebrate the opening of the two-person exhibition of work by Los Angeles-based artists Nora Jane Slade and Marisa Takal.

    Light snacks and refreshments.

    Exhibition on view July 15 - August 19, 2017.

  • Amelia Gray is the author of the short story collections AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, and Gutshot, as well as the novels Threats and, most recently, Isadora, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She is winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, of FC2's Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. 

  • Image: BijaRi, On the rooftops of Santa Domingo-Savio neighborhood as part of the project Contando con Nosotros, 2011

  • Talking to Action

    Sep 17| Exhibition
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    Image: Eduardo Molinari, Confluencia 2: Los Angeles River, 2016.

    Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas is an exhibition and bilingual publication that investigates contemporary, community-based social art practices in the Americas. Talking to Action is part of the Getty’s initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.
     

  • Luis J. Rodriguez was Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016. The twenty-fifth edition of his first book, Poems Across the Pavement, won a 2015 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has written fourteen other books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction, including the best-selling memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. Rodriguez is also founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. In 2016 Tia Chucha Press produced the largest anthology of L.A.-area poets, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles. Rodriguez’s last memoir It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest poetry collection Borrowed Bones appeared in 2016 from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press.

  • Raised in Philadelphia, with roots in South Africa and Trinidad, Zinzi Clemmons’ writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Transition, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and support from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is co-founder and former Publisher of Apogee Journal, and a Contributing Editor to LitHub. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College. Her debut novel, What We Lose, as well as a second title, are forthcoming from Viking.

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MFA Writing

An emerging author today will work in many forms over the course of his or her career—Otis prepares its MFA Writing students for a full range of possibilities.

Our students are free to write in any genre they choose without needing to declare a concentration, and our Workshops reflect this openness: Poets and fiction writers and essayists all gather around the same seminar table discussing each other’s work with two Faculty members who together offer a range of experience.

This team-taught interdisciplinary approach fosters experimentation, cross-pollination, and unexpected discoveries. Poets might encounter narrative forms they can then employ (or controvert) in verse; fiction writers may reconsider how they’re using language and think in new ways on the level of the sentence; and in some cases, new hybrid forms may emerge.

Develop your unique voice and figure out how to lead a sustainable writing life.
Along side the Workshops, one-on-one mentoring is written into the curriculum in the form of Tutorials: Each student is paired with a Faculty member who her or himself is working in that student’s area of greatest interest.

The Tutorial becomes what each student and Faculty member decide to make of it, which may include: directed reading related to the student’s current projects; manuscript preparation; practical counseling according to student needs (querying agents, finding the right publisher, entering chapbook contests, etc.).

Perhaps most importantly, the Tutorial can become the place where a student figures out how he or she will exit Otis with the momentum and skills to sustain a meaningful writing life.

Complete the program with a project that will become your first book.
Our MFA degree culminates with a creative thesis in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or literary translation. The goal is for each student to head off with a manuscript that is well on its way to becoming a first book.

Collaborate with Faculty to design your seminars.
Unique to Otis are innovative Writing Colloquiums, reading seminars designed by Faculty in collaboration with graduate students.

Students are invited to suggest topics of special interest to them, from technical issues (like point-of-view or unreliable narration, etc.) to particular authors they want to study in-depth (Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, etc.) to currents in contemporary fiction and poetry (ethics in literature, political fiction, jazz and poetry, etc.). The faculty then takes these suggestions, adds them to their own on-going concerns, and puts together courses for the following semester (which like the Workshops are team-taught).

The end result is a curriculum that is dynamic and keyed in to what fascinates the collective Graduate Writing community.

Meet writers, editors, and translators from around the world.
Students will get to work consistently with dedicated Faculty, but it’s important that they also encounter a diversity of voices, methods, and alternate ways of inhabiting the literary world. Our biweekly Visiting Writers Series brings in writers, translators, and editors from around the country and abroad to meet and talk with students, sharing their work and expertise.

Work at a small press.
Housed in our writing program is our own small press, Otis Books, which is staffed by students and guided by Faculty. Each year we publish four to six titles, at least one of which is a work in translation. Student editors put out calls for new manuscripts, make selections, and then see the work through the editorial process and production. Alumni have gone on to start their own presses and work in independent publishing.

Build up your teaching resumé.
Our students regularly TA for courses offered in the Otis undergraduate department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This becomes a great way to gain experience in the classroom and to make one’s CV attractive in a competitive academic market.

Study full- or part-time.
Though the program is full-residency, students have the option of enrolling on a full-time or part-time basis. Our small size and selective nature ensure an exemplary student/faculty ratio and allow us to guarantee all full-time students two years of partial fellowship support to assist with the overall tuition, as well as employment through the teaching and publishing practicums.


Thrive in a creative environment.
Studying writing in an art school means that as a writer you are taken seriously as an artist.

Inspiration is everywhere, and the other graduate and undergraduate programs at Otis—including those in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, Digital Media, Illustration, and Book Arts—offer the possibility for interdisciplinary projects.

Find community in Los Angeles.
Our program is enriched by the eclectic literary resources of Los Angeles, its book festivals, reading series, galleries and museums, small presses, legendary writers’ haunts, and independent bookstores.

We live in a complex sprawling city—but by being a part of the writing program at Otis, you have the chance to find your literary community and make connections that will last a lifetime.

 Apply Now

 

See our Otis Books page for information about our upcoming titles.