David MacWilliams '11

David MacWilliamsCity/State of Residence: Alamosa, Colorado

Genre: Creative Nonfiction

Brief Bio: Husband and father with two kids and love of the mountains. Ph.D. in Victorian lit. and now an MFA!

What initially drew you to Ashland's MFA Program? Bob Root and the fact that this new program seemed already to be seeking innovation and a quick yet solid reputation.

What did you appreciate most? Bob Root and Jill Christman and the personal, sincere nature of the program. Loved the one-residency-per-year; loved the sense of community among faculty and students.

How do you feel this program impacted you? Learned to read all over again, and learned to write with a keenness and honesty that I would not have gained on my own. I learned also that writing in itself is a goal, a valuable end in itself. I value this MFA more than my Ph.D., for sure.

What do you feel was the greatest takeaway? I think I’ve got two readers who will be life-long collaborators. As important, I’ve got a sense of “mission” about writing, that I can do more with writing than just write, if that makes sense. I see writing as more of an act of community (despite the lonely hours at the page). I’m creating a writing group here in Alamosa, am to develop an undergraduate creative writing program thanks to what I observed in Ashland, and will contribute in design and delivery of an MA in Writing. I couldn’t have done any of the above without this experience.

What was the subject or theme of your thesis? Memoir about family ties, self-growth.

Finally, what are you up to now? Current occupation, or otherwise: I remain a professor of English, but I am currently trying to establish a writer’s retreat along the Camino de Santiago in Leon, Spain, where I once taught. In the summer of 2013, I hosted a first cohort of student-writers along the Camino. Plans are underway for a second cohort in 2014. I'm reaching out to high school instructors especially. I've added two courses in CNF as part of my usual rotation of course offerings at Adams State University. I've changed my career as a result of the MFA.

Feel free to contact Dave if you should have any questions about his experience at Ashland: dcmacwil@adams.edu.

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