WHAT NEEDS WILL THE CHAPTER ONE PROJECT ADDRESS?
EACH YEAR, some 20,000 students apply for admission to Master of Fine Arts in creative writing programs (Edward J. Delaney, The Atlantic, July 7, 2007). After some 50 years in existence, these programs have graduated close to 100,000 academically qualified poets, fiction and non-fiction writers. After graduation, many of them look to university writing programs for their employment, thus creating a circular culture of intellectual concern for writing that exists mostly within academia. While there are benefits to this, the instruction of writers before the rise of the MFA centered on other practices entirely: formal and informal apprenticeships, independent development of craft, self-generated and self-taught, and, most of all, a persistent literary objective: the creation of literature to entertain and benefit people in all circumstances of life, not only those in the specialized world of academia.
The rise of professional MFA programs, while undoubtedly helpful, may limit the perceptions of young, would-be writers, many of whom see acceptance in an MFA program as the only way to develop and succeed as a writer. Many mistakenly believe that obtaining a degree is not only necessary but sufficient to transform them into established writers. Thus, there is a palpable need to bring the experiences of established, non-MFA trained writers to young people who are just starting out, and to present them with a learning alternative that broadens and compliments their experience in the classroom.
WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?
Our audience will include MFA students and graduates, as well as general readers.
WHAT IS OUR RATIONALE?
While creative writing programs seek to develop the talents of maturing writers, essential information about the initiation and development and process of the writing craft will be discovered in the early memoirs—the Chapter One’s—of established writers.
HOW WILL WE ACHIEVE OUR OBJECTIVES?
To achieve our objectives we establish three initiatives:
- The establishment of a web blog linked to the Marsh Hawk Press site (www.marshhawkpress.org), which will serialize the stand-alone or first book chapters from our authors with a monitored comments section for each article. Online interviews and chats with the authors.
- The publication of authors’ memoirs in a series of short (@100 pages) books.
- The production of an anthology both for the general public and for the college classroom, which will both supplement and expand students’ knowledge of the ways one becomes a writer.
HOW WILL WE FUND THIS PROJECT?
We intend to compensate our contributing authors at professional rates, including advances and royalties. Initial set-up costs, royalties, printing costs, publicity–all of these require funds. Because Marsh Hawk Press is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation, donations to the Chapter One Project are tax deductible. We invite our readers’ support!