A generous donor has made it possible for us to send most of our students abroad after they complete their degree requirements. The Robert Pinsky Global Fellows in Poetry and the Leslie Epstein Global Fellows in Fiction may go to any country and do there what they wish, for a typical stay of up to three months. After a year of study with our faculty–in fiction, with Leslie Epstein, Ha Jin, and Sigrid Nunez, and in poetry, with Robert Pinsky, Henri Cole (Spring 2014), and Dan Chiasson, we are very pleased to offer our students an experience that will continue to challenge as well as delight.

The Global Fellowship adventure is not only intended to help our MFA candidates grow as writers, but also to widen eyes, minds, and hearts–from which better writing and poetry might eventually flow. Our students have traveled to every continent but Antarctica (so far), to places such as Greenland, Patagonia, Iran, Bhutan and Thailand, Cuba, Russia, and Brazil. Please follow the links in our navigation bar to read about each fellow’s journey.

Please click here for details on how to apply to the MFA program. The next deadline is March 1, 2014.

Featured Global Fellow Alumna: Stacy Mattingly (Fiction 2011, Marcia Trimble Fellow)

Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop

 

In fall 2011, I traveled to the Balkans on a Boston University Global Fellowship to research my novel. I stayed for three months, largely here in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in that short time, I met people from a range of backgrounds, including established writers, academics, students, business owners, journalists, community development volunteers, musicians, interns with various international organizations, a former army leader, and a group of young writers gathering regularly to work at a café. I learned from established Bosnian writers that no precedent existed in BiH for an ongoing creative writing workshop, and I began to think about returning to Sarajevo to facilitate one. A few days before my flight to the U.S., I walked into the gun barrel of a tank (kept with other World War 2 weaponry in the yard of Caffe Tito), cut my head open, and shed blood. The deal was sealed.

A year later, the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop is up and running. We are working with PEN Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was founded during the nineties war and just celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Buybook, one of the city’s historically great bookstores, has given us their café space, and we are meeting one evening a week. We plan for Bosnian writers to come in and lead workshops in their respective genres, and we are looking to do some public readings in the spring. Our group is exceptional—bilingual (writing in both English and Bosnian), passionate, well-read, gifted, and rigorous. One of our members, a journalist, served as moderator for PEN’s twentieth anniversary events. After workshop, we tend to take the discussion elsewhere, often across the street to an art gallery/café, Galerija B. Smoje. On a recent evening, we continued till the wee hours, ending at an all-night pekara (bakery) for perec (salty pretzels). Then the winds started—twenty-four hours of strong gusts that blew the windows open in my flat. The rains came. Snow followed. Now the long winter.

Stacy Mattingly

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fall 2012

Update:

The Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop makes its bilingual publication debut in H.O.W. Journal as curated by poet and editor Catherine Pond. The posting includes work by 8 of the workshop poets, appearing in both Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and in English translation, along with audio links to the poets reading their work. Mirza Puric provides a wonderful Translator’s Note about his experience with the group.

Also, Boston University’s AGNI recently published two pieces in translation by poet Marko Vesovic of Sarajevo.