Our Chair’s Welcome

Welcome to this rich land and culture, to our one-of-a-kind creative writing program, the first ever bilingual and online MFA program in the world. Welcome to the University of Texas at El Paso, spread out above the Rio Grande and across the foothills of the Franklin Mountains like some Bhutanese Shangrila, the only university of its kind anywhere, where writers from across the United States and all the Americas speak and write in the languages of this frontier and many others, crossing not just the physical boundaries between Juárez and El Paso, between the United States and Mexico, but crossing all the imaginary borders which too often separate us or finally bring us and our important work together. Writers are always welcome here in this place, like all the writers who’ve come before them, who’ve learned to see and write about the subtlest of desert colors, about the mildest of North American winters, about the subtlest scent of creosote bush in rain and a sky washed clean of dust during August monsoons, about some of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world. This is a place made for writers, the first, the only program of its kind. Come see. Come join us. Welcome. Lex Williford

Bienvenida de nuestro Jefe de Departamento

Bienvenidas y Bienvenidos a esta tierra rica en cultura, a nuestro programa de Creación Literaria, residencial y virtual, único en su género: el primer programa bilingüe en el mundo. Bienvenidos a la Universidad de Texas en El Paso, ciudad dispersa a lo largo del Rio Grande, hasta las estribaciones de las Frankling Mountains, como Shangri-la en el reino de Bután. En nuestro programa confluyen escritores de Estados Unidos y de toda América Latina; se hablan y escriben en las lenguas de la frontera y muchas otras: no solo se cruzan las barreras físicas entre Juárez y El Paso, entre los Estados Unidos y México, sino también las barreras imaginarias, las cuales nos separan a menudo o, finalmente, nos reúnen a nosotros y a nuestros trabajos. Los escritores serán siempre bienvenidos a esta tierra, como todos los que ya han venido antes, quienes aprendieron a ver y a escribir sobre los tenues colores del desierto, los inviernos más templados de América del Norte, la delicada esencia de la jarilla en la lluvia, y un cielo limpio de polvo en los monzones de agosto, así como sobre los más hermosos atardeceres del páramo. Este es un lugar ideal para escritores. Ven y únete. ¡Bienvenidas y Bienvenidos! Lex Williford

Latest News

Juana Moriel, former student in our Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing, has been awarded the Southwest Book Award for her novel Trigueña, which she wrote while in our program. Congratulations, Juana!

The short story collection Nenitas by Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny was selected by Marvin as one of the ten best books published in 2013 in Mexico.

The poem Amante del Viento–Lover of the Wind by MFA candidate Riley H. Welcker was accepted for publication in Blast Furnace.

The short story "My Star" by our graduate student Riley Welcker will be published in Mandala, the literary journal of the University of Georgia's Institute for African American Studies, in its 2013 issue. Congratulations, Riley!

Our chair wins three literary awards. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, the most recent novel published by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Chair of the Department of Creative Writing, has been awarded: The Pura Belpré Award, The Stonewall Book Award, and Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Congratulations Ben!

Former MFA student wins major literary award. Betina González, a graduate from our Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing, has won the “VIII Premio Tusquets Editores de Novela” with her novel Las poseídas. Betina also won the “Premio Clarín de Novela” in 2006 with her MFA thesis Arte Menor. Congratulations, Betina!

MFA students is awarded a major grant. Sylvia Aguilar, a third year student in our Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing, has won a grant from the Instituto Sonorense de Cultura (MX) that will allow her to work on a novel over the course of a year. Well deserved, Sylvia!

New MFA student publications: Former MFA student Laura Cesarco Eglin’s book Tailor Shop: Threads, a translation into English of her book of poems Sastrería (Yaugurú 2011), will be published in late February by Finishing Line Press. Congratulations Laura!

New MFA student publications: Yasmin Ramirez, MFA candidate, was featured in cc&d Magazine (June 2012) with short story Drum Beats. The story will also appear in a book length collection, The Mission.

Words on a Wire on iTunes: Words on a Wire, a weekly show hosted by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Daniel Chacón, is now available on iTunes. Listen to Words on a Wire on KTEP 88.5 FM every Sunday at 11:30 a.m.