Hometown: Waterford, Connecticut
Primary: Fiction for Young Readers
Secondary: Literary Journalism
Honors and Awards: Undergraduate Distinction in Writing, Graduate Award from Alumni Association
Activities: Graduate Assistantship Program
Beth Turley decided at the age of five that she wanted to write books because of her love for reading and because writing would make her feel the way her favorite books made her feel. She says she continues to write because the more she writes and practices her craft, the closer she can see herself accomplishing her goals and dreams.
Beth went on to complete her undergraduate degree here at Western Connecticut State University in the Professional writing program. Deciding she wasn't done being a Colonial, she continued at Western to get her MFA in Creative and Professional Writing. She knew that if she pursued an MFA, she would come out of it with a completed novel. Beth saw the MFA program as a step in improving her craft and having a polished product that she could eventually send to agents and publishers.
Because of her love for Western as an undergraduate, Beth knew her decision to pursue her MFA right where she was was a good choice. She also says that the Graduate Assistantships available to grad students were particularly appealing, as well as the one-on-one experience with mentors.
Beth will always remember the residencies, as well as feeling a part of a wonderful, passionate, and supportive community that she still feels she can always turn to.
Since graduation, Beth is thankful to say that she has signed with a literary agent and accepted a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. This is all within a year of graduation! Beth has also taught at Western as an adjunct and served as the Coordinator of the Tutoring Resource Center. Beth says that all of this combined is literally a dream come true.
If she has any advice for current MFA students, it's to never give up. Be open to advice. Don't be afraid to write what feels hard. Lastly, get involved in the writing community outside of the MFA.
Beth knows with 100% certainty that she could not have written her debut novel without the knowledge and experience she gained in the MFA program at Western. She says time goes by faster than she could describe, so take it all in. Listen and learn as much as you possibly can.