Alumni, MFA in Creative Writing Program

Personal Statement

Kiara Brinkman graduated from Goddard’s low residency MFA in Creative Writing program in 2006. Her first novel, Up High in the Trees (Grove Press, July 2007) has been called “a very moving and perfectly convincing portrait of the inner life of an unusual boy” by Dave Eggers; Maud Casey calls it “a hauntingly beautiful debut; a stunner.”

The novel has earned raves from the Washington Post and The New York Times; it has been chosen as a Borders Original Voices Pick and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.

Brinkman says that her time at Goddard College was an important part of the creation of the novel: “At Goddard I gained the confidence I needed to make writing a top priority in my life, and I established the necessary momentum to get into a rhythm and move forward with my work. My advisors were encouraging and my peers were supportive, and at a certain point, I realized that I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing—I was writing a novel and feeling good about it, and no matter what, I was going to finish. I also learned how to be productive. I figured out a writing schedule that works for me, which I think is a big part of the struggle, learning when and how long to sit in front of the computer— which is different for every writer.”

Read her Interview: Kiara Birkman talks about her time at Goddard, the success of her first novel, and her life as a writer in an interview with faculty member Jeanne Mackin.