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Author In Progress by Writer Unboxed Writer Unboxed, Therese Walsh

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Debatable: Do You Need an MFA?

How to Learn Your Craft—and Get Published—Without the Degree

Catherine McKenzie

I’ll admit I wasn’t aware of the MFA program debate until after I’d gotten a book deal. It’s not that I didn’t know about master’s degrees in writing—I had simply never considered getting one because writing a novel wasn’t on my radar. I’m often asked whether I’ve always been a writer, and my stock answer is: “I’ve always written.” I think that’s why the idea of a writing career never entered my thought process. I wrote—it was who I was, not what I was going to do.

Then I wrote a novel. I wouldn’t exactly say I did it by accident, though I certainly hadn’t meant to write one when I first sat down and began typing ten years ago. But that ...

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