Events
  • Tim Walsh, is the inventor of the board game Blurt!, which sold more than a milion copies. Tim has lincesned toy and game concepts to Hasbro, Mattel, Brio, Educational Insights, Imagine Entertaiment, and others. Be inspired and entertained by the stories behind the creation of blockbuster toys and games.

     

  • James Hannaham

    Jan 25| Lectures
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    James Hannaham is the author of the novels Delicious Foods, which won the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award, and God Says No, a Stonewall Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

  • Opening Reception and Acoustic Event: “Tuning the Room” lead by Gregory Lenczycki and Ken Goerres. Gastronomic tuning tastings and elixirs provided by Eden Batki.
     

  • The measure and alterations of Craycroft’s “room tuning” are framed in relation to its setting within the art gallery of an art school. In the wake of the U.S. presidential election, and in anticipation of the exhibition runtime falling during the first months of the new administration, Tuning the Room is a proposal to pay attention to the role that art and art education play in how voices are heard.

  • Robin Coste Lewis won the National Book Award for Voyage of the Sable Venus. Her writing has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review. She has taught at Wheaton, Hunter, Hampshire, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis is a fellow of Cave Canem and of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, as well as a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at USC.

  • Artist Anna Craycroft, of the current exhibition Tuning the Room in Ben Maltz Gallery, in discussion with artist and curator Micah Silver.

  • Solmaz Sharif

    Mar 01| Lectures
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    Solmaz Sharif’s first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press and is a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, Granta, Poetry, and other journals. Her first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press. A former Stegner Fellow, she is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area.

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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 Graduate 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 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.