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What Is a Statement of Purpose?

far beyond bannerThis brief essay, which should be about a page long, is where you introduce yourself and lay out what it is that possessed you to take up creative writing, why you persist, what you hope to gain from further study, and what pleasures you find in taking pen to page. Please write this in your own voice — not too formal, not too informal. If your writing is funny and breezy, your statement of purpose will tend that way as well. If your writing is dark and intense, well, so will be your statement of purpose.

We're interested in getting to know you as a person, as a writer, and as a reader. (Writers are chronic readers.) Tell us about a book that changed you in some way, even if you hated it. How does it fit with what you write and, perhaps more importantly, with how you write? Where are you getting your literary models?

Here are a couple of other prompts that might help you get started:

  • What was the first time you wrote something that you knew was a “real” poem or story or creative piece of writing? How did you know? Tell us that story. Looking back, how has your idea of “real” writing changed?
  • What has been your biggest challenge or greatest fear as a writer? Tell us a story from your experience and from your reading life about facing that challenge.

Format: No more than 2 pages, single spaced or double, 12 point readable font consistent with your writing sample.