Converse College’s MFA program and Hub City Press announced a new collaborative venture, the C. Michael Curtis Publishing Fellowship, during the MFA program’s January residency session on the Converse campus. The fellowship provides opportunity for MFA students to work directly with Hub City Press in all areas of publishing and editing, including manuscript review, manuscript selection, and marketing, and includes an honorarium for the recipient’s work. Travis Burnham of Spartanburg, SC, a fiction student in the MFA program and science teacher at Spartanburg Day School, was named as inaugural recipient. He was selected by a committee of MFA faculty including Denise Duhamel, Leslie Pietrzyk, Jim Minick and Rick Mulkey.
“This new program offers a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain practical knowledge in the field of independent press publication.”
“This new program offers a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain practical knowledge in the field of independent press publication,” said Rick Mulkey, director of the Converse MFA program. “Our goal is to prepare students first as professional writers of fiction, poetry and nonfiction, and second to provide them opportunities to develop as literary citizens by working directly with agents, editors, and publishers. This paid internship will provide two student writers each year a valuable learning experience. Plus, since the internship can be accomplished electronically, our MFA students across the country will have the opportunity to participate. We are fortunate to have a strong working relationship with such a distinguished, award-winning press.”
Fellowship recipients will assist in reading and evaluating manuscripts for the South Carolina First Novel Prize and the New Southern Voices Poetry Book Prize, read and evaluate up to 12 novels and/or poetry or nonfiction books, manage approximately 60 – 70 submissions queries, and assist the Press with marketing and book promotion activities.
“This is a terrific opportunity both for the Curtis Fellow and for Hub City Press,” said Betsy Teter, Hub City’s executive director. “The fellows will help us read and edit manuscripts and be fully involved in our publications going forward. We are thrilled to be working with the Converse MFA creative writing program.”
The fellowship is named in honor of C. Michael Curtis, who has been the fiction editor at The Atlantic for more than 40 years. Curtis teaches at Wofford College and serves on the Hub City Editorial Board. “Mike has worked with our MFA students on a number of occasions as a visiting faculty member, and he has been an important mentor and friend to our core faculty for many years,” said Mulkey.
As inaugural recipient of the fellowship, Burnham looks forward to seeing the “other side of the writing puzzle” through this window into the publishing world. “I approached the writing field from a slightly different angle, as my undergraduate degrees are a BS in biology and a BS in botany,” he said. “I’ve been writing for a long time, twenty years or so now, and when the opportunity to take my writing more seriously by pursing my MFA came up, I jumped at it. The MFA program at Converse wildly exceeded my expectations. It’s a fantastic program with established, sharp, and dedicated writer/mentors. The simple fact of the matter is that writing makes you a better writer, but so does reading, and I’ll have the opportunity to read a lot of the work that’s out there. I think it will also be gratifying to discover talented writers that might otherwise not have had a chance to publish.”