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MFA Program Launches Scholarship Fund to Support Marginalized Writers

By Tom Durso

a collage of drawings including hands, books, pens, paper and other writing tools with a bubble that says "creative writing."


February 17, 2022

When the first cohort of students in Drexel’s MFA in Creative Writing program graduated, in the spring of 2021, its members raised and donated $1,300 to fund the program’s civic engagement efforts. The gesture was well in keeping with a core tenet of the University, the College and the program itself, and it touched MFA program director Nomi Eve deeply.

“I was incredibly gratified by this gift, and took our alums’ enthusiasm for our civic-engagement mission as a signpost and challenge,” she said. “I truly believe that our students point the way.”

The graduates’ gift and a recent $50,000 donation from an anonymous donor are being used to support the MFA Gift Fund for Marginalized Writers. Through the fund, one incoming member of the 2022 entering cohort will receive a full-tuition scholarship.

“Our goal is to support diverse voices and diverse literature by funding writers whose personal experiences of marginalization inform their literary pursuits,” Eve said. “We want to directly benefit and serve writers impacted by a variety of difficult circumstances.”

The program is defining “marginalization” broadly. Examples include but are not limited to full or partial paralysis, pediatric cancer, disability resulting from military service, cystic fibrosis or other severe long-term medical condition/disability, terminal illness, recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, homelessness, foster care and food insecurity.

Poet and disability rights advocate Kenny Fries will serve as a consultant to the program for 2022-23. He will review course syllabi to ensure MFA instructors are assigning works of writers from the disability community. He will also meet quarterly with the fellowship winner to provide insight, advice and support.

Eve and Drexel are continuing to solicit support for the Gift Fund for Marginalized Writers. Their ultimate goal is to raise $1 million, which would enable the fund to be self-sustaining.

In addition to helming the MFA program, Eve directs Story Medicine, a Community-Based Learning class in which students put learned skills to work in service of people with illness or disability. She sees the Gift Fund for Marginalized Writers as a synthesis of the class and the MFA program.

“Civic engagement is a core ethos of the Drexel MFA,” Eve said. “We encourage students to use their writing to make the world a better place. This incredible gift from a generous donor will allow us to matriculate a student who would otherwise not be able to enroll in the MFA, and whose voice I believe needs to be heard. I endeavor to make this scholarship a regular part of who we are. There are writers out there facing extraordinary headwinds – we want to welcome them in and hear what they have to say.”

Click here to make a donation to the MFA Gift Fund for Marginalized Writers.

Click here to apply to the Drexel MFA in Creative Writing.

Click here for more information on applying for the MFA Gift Fund scholarship.