The Written Word

Since its founding in 1965, UCI’s renowned Programs in Writing has been inspiring and nurturing the next generation of American writers. In that time, more than 500 students have earned the prestigious M.F.A. degree in creative writing, and the majority of graduates have gone on to publish volumes of poetry, novels, short stories or nonfiction books.

On the 15 pages that follow, we are pleased to share six excerpts from new or upcoming works of fiction by M.F.A. alumni – from Max Winter’s debut novel, Exes, a study of grief and love in the aftermath of suicide, to Charmaine Craig’s Miss Burma, based on the life of her mother, a beauty queen and actress who became a rebel leader for the Karen people in the country known today as Myanmar.

You will also find five poems from members of the class of 2016, along with a seminal piece by Pulitzer Prize recipient Yusef Komunyakaa, M.F.A. ’80, on the former U.S. Army correspondent’s first look at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (accompanied by keen introductory insights from Michael Ryan, director of UCI’s poetry program).

For further reading, an online compilation of many of the novels, poetry collections and nonfiction books published by M.F.A. writing program alumni is available at We would like to extend our thanks to the poets, authors and publishers who granted UCI Magazine permission to reprint these works and hope you enjoy them.