Response to the Closing of the CityU MFA Programme

On the Closure of the CityU HK MFA and the Wider World of MFA Programmes

All of us in the world of creative writing in Hong Kong, especially those of us who care for the mutually beneficial work that concurrent MFA courses can offer to writers in a major city, are saddened to hear of the closing of the City University MFA programme. The press release published earlier laments the loss and its ability to “contribute to Hong Kong’s growing importance as a international centre of arts and culture.”

At the same time, we need accuracy to move forward together. The press release from CityU also includes this comment by unnamed CityU MFA students, quoted from “social media”: we hear that CityU’s MFA Programme offered them “the only opportunity to pursue a degree in creative writing without relocating to the US or UK” (emphasis added). This is simply not the case, and it is unprofessional for all interested in the field of creative writing, especially for prospective students, to let it stand unchecked. More importantly, such diffuse quotations miss a larger point. Each, and any, MFA programme is professionally and internationally valuable.

The MFA at CityU, like every other MFA programme, we know, is situated on an already vibrant local and international landscape of MFA and other Creative Writing programmes. We are all part of the story about support for Creative Writing in Hong Kong and the region, and we need to tell it well, especially for the emerging generations of writers. We support all such programmes in their support of writers, and look to all of them for what each can offer.

Dr. Page Richards
Associate Professor
Director, MFA at HKU
School of English
The University of Hong Kong