Why Rome? At the Spalding MFA program, we believe the experience of travel makes for richer writing and more compassionate writers. In Rome, we will walk in the footsteps of Caesar and Virgil. We will stand before the works of Bernini and study the films of Fellini in the city that inspired him. In turn, we will be inspired, invigorated and informed as we hone our craft in faculty-led workshops and classroom sessions.


  • 06/29/2016 to 07/11/2016


  • Ground transportation
  • 11 nights hotel
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners
  • 8 days of workshops
  • Guide
  • Guided Tour of the Forum and the Colosseum
  • Guided Tour of Ancient Ostia
  • Guided Tour of Villa Borghese
  • Admission fees
  • Country guidebook and pre-travel docs
  • Embedded medical insurance
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • On-site WorldStrides staff member

Why Travel with Spalding’s Summer Residency?

  • “I could not have asked to graduate anywhere else. This residency was wonderful in so many ways, from the events to our accommodations to our lectures to my workshop. Bravo.”
  • Aimee Mackovic (Poetry/Screenwriting ’05): “I cannot recommend enough the magical experience of traveling with Spalding as an alum! Want to pop in on Sena’s lecture? Great! Want to spend three hours with other alums debating the contemporary American canon over a leisurely lunch? Fantastic! Want to spend the whole day sightseeing (or writing) by yourself then meet up with others for dinner? Excellent! It’s your trip! Traveling as part of Spalding lets you take a bit of your tribe with you, and bit of Splove.”
  • “The cultural impact these journeys have on my work cannot be calculated.”
  • Alice Covington (Fiction ’13): “[The trip] injected me with renewed enthusiasm for the passion of writing that binds this extraordinary community. I shall return.”
  • “The sessions … spoke to me on concrete and abstract levels that will help me grow in so many ways -- as a reader, writer, teacher, friend to others. They inspired me so much!”
  • Bonnie Johnson (Fiction ’04): “Age or previous travel abroad is not a factor, nor is venturing alone on the trip. We look after one another as needed, while being free to choose how one’s own time is spent.”

Meet the Faculty

Sena Naslund

Program Director; Faculty (Fiction)
Sena Jeter Naslund is the bestselling author of nine works of fiction, including the novels The Fountain of St. James Court, or, Portrait of an Artist as an Old Woman; Ahab’s Wife: Or, the Star-Gazer; Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette; and Four Spirits. Sena holds the MA and PhD from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She retired from her position as Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville in 2014. Since 2000, she has served as the Program Director of the Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing program, of which she is also the co-founder

Kathleen Driskell

Associate Program Director; Faculty (Poetry)
Kathleen Driskell is author of numerous poetry collections, most recently Next Door to the Dead. Her second book of poems, Seed Across Snow, was listed as a national bestseller by the Poetry Foundation. Other books include Laughing Sickness and Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was co-poetry editor (with Claudia Emerson) of The Greensboro Review.

Robin Lippincott

Faculty (fiction)
Robin Lippincott is author of numerous books, most recently Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell. His collaboration with Spalding MFA graduate Julia Watts, Rufus + Syd, a novel for young adults, is forthcoming. Other books include the novels In the Meantime, Our Arcadia, and Mr. Dalloway, as well as a short story collection, The ‘I’ Rejected. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.

Shane McCrae

Faculty (poetry)
Shane McCrae is the author of four full-length books of poetry— The Animal Too Big to Kill, Forgiveness Forgiveness, Mule, and Blood, as well as three chapbooks, the most recent of which, Nonfiction, won the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook Competition. In 2011 he received a Whiting Writer’s Award and in 2013 a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard Law School, and the graduate English program at the University of Iowa.

Nancy McCabe

Faculty (creative nonfiction)
Nancy McCabe’s most recent book is From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood. She has also published a collection of essays, After the Flashlight Man: A Memoir of Awakening, and two full-length memoirs, Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption and Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge: A Journey to My Daughter’s Birthplace in China. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arkansas and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska.

David-Matthew Barnes

Faculty (writing for children & young adults)
David-Matthew Barnes is the bestselling author of twelve novels and several collections of stage plays, poetry, short stories, and monologues. He is President of the Pindelion Entertainment Group, the creator and producer of the teen television series Bloom, the Artistic Director of The Dorothy Nickle Performing Arts Company, and the host of the weekly radio show People You Should Know. His first feature film, the coming-of-age drama Frozen Stars, received worldwide distribution. He has written over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina.


Questions? Click here to see answers to commonly asked questions about WorldStrides educational travel programs for university students.