Agents and Editors and Readers! Oh My!


At Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel offers a sharp response to a recent Atlantic article that explores how MFA programs have influenced contemporary literature:

The MFA is only two to three years out of a writer’s life. Those years don’t outweigh decades of signaling from the publishing industry, major newspapers, and magazines about what type of fiction is popular and publishable. And they don’t outweigh years of one’s personal reading habits and taste either. Writers tend to leave the MFA program with their tastes and style in tact and their writing a little more honed. Hopefully they have a polished manuscript freshly printed in their hands. But when the leave the warm confines of the MFA program, they face the cold world of agents, editors, and readers who couldn’t care less what workshop comments or professor feedback they got.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →