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MFA Student Attends Prestigious Writing Residency

January 20, 2021 | McNeese Public Relations
MFA degree program graduate student Gauri Awasthi with a lamb at Firefly Farms

McNeese State University Master of Fine Arts student Gauri Awasthi is receiving valuable writing experience through a residency at the distinguished Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) at Firefly Farms, a 45-acre working farm outside of Knoxville, Tennessee.

From Kanpur, India, Awasthi is currently a third-year poetry graduate student at McNeese and is the second McNeese student to receive a residency at SAFTA, which regularly hosts well-known and emerging writers, filmmakers, composers and visual artists.

Awasthi, who is currently working on her poetry thesis, tentatively titled “The Mother Wound,” received her bachelor’s degree in mass media from the University of Mumbai.

She says that the two-week residency has been invaluable in helping her hone her craft, while also allowing her to experience life on the farm, including feeding and caring for sheep and other livestock.

“I’m very grateful for my MFA cohort and for the MFA program director, Amy Fleury, for the support they’ve given me in pursuing this opportunity,” she says. “It’s been wonderful to take advantage of the quiet and remoteness here to focus on my work.”