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Elizabeth Clementson writes: "During my junior year of college, I locked myself in my apartment during spring break and wrote a short story about my father and my glory days on the swim team. I submitted the story to the Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest and won second place. I had always wanted to be a writer, but now it was official. My plans to do graduate work in cultural studies were quickly forgotten as I decided pull a Sylvia Plath—move to New York and get a job in publishing.

"As I moved within New York literary circles while working in publishing, it came to my attention that I couldn't be classified as a literary writer unless I had an MFA in Creative Writing. Unlike most aspiring writers, I didn't need to enroll in an MFA program in order to find an agent or a publisher, as I had already made numerous contacts inside the publishing community. What I wanted was to develop some discipline in my writing habits and perhaps, bond with fellow writers in a like–minded literary community. An MFA degree seemed like a good method to achieve these goals."
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