Founded in 2008, the Low Residency MFA @ UC Riverside has distinguished itself by combining the craft of writing with the reality of sustaining a life in the arts — the goal of our students is to not merely learn how to write; it is to learn how to sell what they write, to earn a living from their art. To that end, we have always encouraged our alumni to play an active role in the education of our current students with each residency typically featuring several former students in a Guest Faculty capacity, as we believe the best example for our students is the success of the people who have sat in the same chairs.
Or by the same pool at the Rancho Las Palmas, anyway.
The results are easy to see: A legion of acclaimed authors & poets. Award-winning screen & television writers. Top national playwrights. Journalists from the best newspapers and magazines in the world. Studio executives. Movie & TV Producers. Essayists. Short story writers. And every other kind of writer, too. For eleven years, all we’ve done is turn out professional writers.
But we’ve always wanted to do more. To give a mid-career alum an opportunity to return for an entire academic year to help create programming, to engage with our current students, to consult with their fellow alums, and to get valuable teaching experience in a real world setting. Which brings us to today and the announcement of the first two writers who will be joining our In-Residence program, Heather Scott Partington and Jacqueline McKinley. Heather will be our first Critic-in-Residence and Jacqueline will be our first Screenwriter-in-Residence. Both will develop content for upcoming residencies, will consult with our graduating students, and provide optional consultations with alums. Their main job with our current students is a simple one: Show them how to become professional writers. But also, for a book critic like Heather, to give students a real world idea of what happens when a critic reviews their book for a major American publication, and for a working writer/producer like Jacqueline, what it’s like to be developing a TV show from top-to-bottom.
We want our MFA candidates to be prepared, which is why the MFA faculty at UCR is comprised of the best writers in the country. It’s also now comprised of the best alums in the country, too.
About Critic-in-Residence Heather Scott Partington
Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She lives in Elk Grove, California with her husband and two kids. Her criticism and interviews have appeared in major newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times , USA Today, Newsday, the Star Tribune, Paste Magazine, and the Journal of Alta California, as well as top literary publications such as The Believer, The National Book Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, The Millions, On the Seawall, The Nervous Breakdown, Entropy, Kirkus, and Literary Hub. In 2017, Heather was awarded one of seven inaugural emerging critic fellowships from the National Book Critics Circle. Her nonfiction, journalism, and features have appeared in Under the Gum Tree, Las Vegas Weekly, Sacramento News & Review, Electric Literature, and Goodreads, among others. Heather’s interview of author Yann Martel was included in the paperback edition of his novel, The High Mountains of Portugal. Heather is the former book reviews editor of The Coachella Review and has appeared as a guest on Literary Disco and KCOD’s Open Book. A classically trained dancer, Heather’s pre-writing life included decades of ballet and contemporary dance. She performed as an apprentice to Sacramento Ballet, and was a company member in CORE Contemporary Dance. Heather earned her Associate professional certificate in Cecchetti Classical Ballet from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Since 2002, Heather has been teaching at her alma mater, Elk Grove High School, where she has served at various points as a dance teacher, English teacher, AVID teacher, Performing Arts Department Chair, and AVID Program Coordinator. Heather holds a BA in English Literature from the University of California, Davis and an MFA in Fiction from the University of California, Riverside.
About Screenwriter-in-Residence Jacqueline McKinley
Jacqueline McKinley is a working television writer who has written for 8 different sitcoms and two dramas. She has over 40 produced episodes of television. Jackie has just finished season two on Disney’s “Raven’s Home”. In the past, she worked on the BET show “The Quad” and TVOne’s “Media”. Formerly, she was a writer for the Emmy award-winning “The Bernie Mac Show” and was the Co-Executive /Co-creator of the TVOne comedy “Here We Go Again”. She also served as writer/Producer of “Are We There Yet?” “First Family” and “All of Us.” In addition to her television work, she began writing short films, web series and screenplays. The short film “Move” played in over thirty film festivals and won eight of them. “Move” has also aired on the Showtime Network. The next short film, “Oxtails” has aired on the BET Network. She has also written and directed the popular web series “Finding My Obama.” Jackie has been accepted in many prestigious programs such as the Writer’s Guild Showrunners Program, the WGA’s Writers Access Project and The Guy Hank and Marvin Millers Screenwriters Program. She is a University of Florida undergraduate and has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of California, Riverside.