The Place

Our Literary City

Spokane is a vibrant and energetic city, with shopping, diverse dining, and numerous entertainment venues of all kinds. Spokane is also a great place to live if you love the outdoors. Within minutes of downtown you can find yourself relaxing by the beautiful Spokane river. Spokane is the second largest city in Washington and is situated in the Inland Northwest, east of the Cascades, which means that it has a much dryer climate than Seattle; summers in Spokane are not to be missed. The MFA program, located in Spokane’s U District bordering downtown, is close to both the river and the main student residential area of Spokane. The MFA program is a large part of Spokane’s thriving arts community, as we host many literary events like Visiting Writer readings, VoiceOver (a student-run monthly reading series for MFA candidates, faculty, and alumni), and of course the yearly GetLit! festival.

In addition to what the MFA program has to offer, there are many other local events to choose from all year long. We like to think there is something in our beautiful river that creates such a literary buzz, but it could have more to do with the large numbers of alumni who have continued to live in Spokane post MFA. These alums include international best-selling fiction writer Jess Walter. Many of our alums have gone on to start local small presses, literary magazines, arts organizations, and even become both city and state poet laureates. These graduates of our program are just a handful of the people who help make Spokane the literary city we love.

Our Favorite Events & Organizations

  • Spark Central, a charitable organization that offers many free community workshops and events such as Girls Rock Lab
  • Sage Hill Press, an independent publisher run by EWU alumni Thom Caraway and Jeff Dodd
  • Scablands Books, an independent publisher who also partners with Spark Central to offer community programs and events. This organization is co-founded and run by poet Ellen Welcker and fiction writer Sharma Shields
  • Independent publisher Gray Dog Press
  • Community arts organization Terrain, which hosts a large-scale art show and community reading each year
  • Spokane’s large poetry slam community

Living in Spokane

Spokane has many great neighborhoods to choose from. Many students in the MFA program live in Browne’s Addition, a residential area less than seven blocks from the center of downtown. Students also often choose to live in the South Hill, South Perry, and Peaceful Valley neighborhoods. See our frequently asked questions for more information. Public transportation, which is free for students, is very efficient; many students take the free bus to both their downtown classes and to Cheney (home of the main campus of EWU, and where TAs will teach their classes.)

All in all, Spokane is a great city to live in. The climate is dry and temperate and the rents are affordable. Spokane features all the major amenities of the largest metro areas without all the congestive traffic, crowded plazas, or major crime. The city is home to championship sports teams, a revived city center, highly-rated hospitals, and almost 3,500 acres of parks. Concerts, Broadway shows, plays, First Friday art-walks, night markets, and much more.

Local News & Events

The Spokesman Review

Spokane's daily newspaper

Read the Spokesman

The Inlander

News and information for the Inland NW

Read the Inlander

Downtown Spokane Partnership

Spokane's hub for events and services

Explore Downtown

Recreation & Travel

Arts & Entertainment

The Spokane Campus

The EWU Spokane campus is part of Spokane’s University District, located near the heart of downtown along the beautiful Spokane River. The river can be reached easily by bikers, walkers, and roller-bladers via the Centennial Trail that runs along the river from beyond downtown into neighboring Idaho. A paved footpath runs just behind the program offices and is a favorite of joggers practically year-round. The tree growth along the river allows for both shade and wind-break, depending on the needs of the season, while still affording a view to the water below.

The campus houses programs of both Eastern Washington University and Washington State University Spokane, with Gonzaga University a neighbor right across the river.

Many of the MFA program’s classes are held in the EWU Center. Dedicated in 1996, the center also houses the university’s College of Business. The building contains a 205-seat auditorium, classrooms, office space, and the EWU Spokane campus computer lab.

Computer Lab Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 5.p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: noon to 5 p.m.

The Spokane Academic Library is a facility shared between Eastern Washington University and Washington State University, and is located on the second and third floors of the Academic Center. The library provides access to thousands of journals and books, some physically but most online via licensed databases and online subscriptions.

The library’s physical collection includes a small “Lit Lounge” area devoted to literary journals such as McSweeney’s, Tin House, Poets & Writers, our own Willow Springs, and a few others. Several study rooms are available for small group use. Laptops are available for 72-hour check-out. EWU graduate students currently preparing their thesis/graduate research project may check out any three-week circulating materials until the end of the academic quarter. Professional reference librarians provide support for academic programs located on the EWU Spokane campus.

Free one-hour street parking is available on Riverpoint Boulevard and neighboring streets. Parking is metered in the surrounding WSU owned lots at two dollars per hour or seven dollars for the full day.

Facade of the Spokane EWU Center and the Spokane Academic Library
Entrance to the EWU Spokane Center
Facade of the Spokane EWU Center and the Spokane Academic Library
Pano view of the downtown campus and the U-District Bridge