Winner of Hoffer, Nautilus and Midwest Book Awards as one of the best new books on creative writing.
"The essential truths about excellent writing." The Judges of the Hoffer Awards
MFA in a Box is a different kind of book on creative writing -- and, more broadly, on the creative process. Part craft talk, part philosophical tome, part memoir, MFA in a Box is not so much a book about how to write as it is about why to write. In chapters that explore the relationships between the writer and love, grief, place, family, race, violence, and other topics, author and creative writing professor John Rember (Sudden Death Over Time, Traplines, Cheerleaders from Gomorrah) helps writers dive deep into their own writing. He tells them how they can breathe down there and how they can get back.
"A big part of writing involves grappling with the terrors and discouragements that come when you have writing skills but can't project yourself or your work into the future," says Rember. "My hope is that MFA in a Box will help writers balance the despair of writing with the joy of writing. It's a book designed to help you to find the courage to put truth into words and to understand that writing is a life-and-death endeavor--but that nothing about a life-and-death endeavor keeps it from being laugh-out-loud funny."
Praise for MFA in a Box
"Beyond Burroway. This is the book for the serious student of writing." Jo-Ann Mapson, author, and co-creator of the University of Alaska Low-Residency MFA Program
"This is more than an advice book with a catchy title. What makes it different than the many, many books about writing on the market today is the way Rember engages his readers in some of the issues every writer faces--writing about place, about family, about grief--not as problems to be overcome but as issues to be understood." Jeff Baker, Book Editor, The Oregonian
"Witty, audacious, and wise, MFA in a Box is a unique and valuable book that addresses the subject--and the life experience--of Creative Writing from both a practical perspective and in a manner so highly personable you'll read it like a memoir--and want to meet the author. Rember has the storyteller's magic. You'll be enthralled. And walk away a more astute and vibrant writer." Robin Metz, author of Unbidden Angel, winner of the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Award, Director of the Knox College Creative Writing Program
"Rember cleverly makes the reader dig into her own unconscious wisdom to recognize the true jewel at the center of a story. This book is not filled with rules and dogma to guide the writing process. Instead, an understanding of our relationship to our place on earth, acknowledging that our civilization is built on violence, and 'how the big moments in life require a witness,' impel us to infuse our stories with truth." Judges of the Hoffer Awards
"MFA in a Box should be on every writer's bookshelf, right next to On Writing by Stephen King and other great books on the art and craft of creative writing." Randy Richardson, President, Chicago Writers Association
"For writers and teachers searching for rejuvenation in their work and affirmation of it, this book is a sacred read." Renee D'Aoust, author of Body of a Dancer