Kendall Dunkelberg is the director of the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Mississippi University for Women. He’s also a poet whose third collection of poetry, Barrier Island Suites, was published in 2016.
Katrina Byrd: How do you prepare students for the business side of writing?
Kendall: In our low-res MFA program, we try to prepare students for the business side of writing in several ways. Our full residencies offer seminars on the writing life every afternoon, which often discuss practical business topics like working with an agent, finding grants, or organizing a reading. Short residencies can include attending the AWP conference and writing about it for credit. We have also developed a semester-long course, The Professional Writer, that focuses on revision and publication. In our writing workshops, we also encourage students to submit their work for publication, and we try to include career advising along with academic advising.
Katrina: In your experience, what is one thing that is vital to managing a successful writing business?
Kendall: As a poet, I consider a successful writing career to be holding down a day job while finding time to write and submit my work. The most vital thing is the ability to manage your time. Applying for grants can help you carve out more time and use that time more effectively (at artist residencies, for instance).
Katrina Byrd is a student in the Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program at the Mississippi University for Women. Katrina is a writer and playwright who has received four Artist Minigrants from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Several of her short plays have been performed locally and several of her short stories have appeared in Inflight Literary Magazine, Black Magnolias Literary Magazine and Monkeycyle Literary Magazine.