Applications Welcome for New Ten-Month Creative Writing Program


(Irene Cooper, Ellen Santasiero and Michael Cooper will debut The Forge Writing Program in January 2022 | Photo courtesy of The Forge Writing Program)

Three Central Oregon writers are accepting applications for The Forge Writing Program, an online creative writing program beginning January of 2022. The program is designed for people who want the rigor and community of a graduate creative writing program, but are looking for an accelerated pace and lower cost.

“In our 40 combined years of teaching, we’ve encountered many writers who want to take themselves seriously and really live the writer’s life, but they don’t necessarily want or need an academic credential, or the high cost of a master’s program,” said Michael Cooper, who founded the program with fellow writers and teachers Irene Cooper and Ellen Santasiero. “We like to say that we got our MFAs so our participants don’t have to.”

Through bi-weekly workshops, individual mentorships and feedback from instructors and peers, the program guides small cohorts of writers to generate writing, acquire and improve craft skills and revise a body of work in fiction or creative nonfiction.

At the end of the program, each writer will experience a personal and in-depth conference during which the instructors will give their full intention to discussing the work, the writer’s experience and future possibilities.

In the interest of inspiring ownership and authority in one’s own work, as well as supporting a practice of ongoing literary citizenship, a public reading/sharing of each writer’s work, in person or online, is a component of completion of the course.

About the Instructors

The only thing Ellen Santasiero likes better than making essays, memoirs, collages, plays, fictions and safe spaces for learning is making them with others. Her work has appeared in The Stay Project, The Sun, and High Desert Journal, among others. She taught literature and writing at OSU-Cascades from 2007-2021, and memoir writing at The Bend Writers Workshop in 2019-2020. (

Irene Cooper writes poems, reviews, essays and fiction. She works and teaches in community in Central Oregon. Committal, a speculative spy-fy novel about family, was published in 2020. Her debut full-length book of poetry, spare change, came out with Finishing Line Press in March 2021. (

Mike Cooper holds an MFA from Oregon State University Cascades in Bend, where he lives with his family. Mike is a writer of fiction and an editorial coach. His short stories have been finalists in Glimmer Train, The Lascaux Review, and Cutthroat. He is president of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and teaches writing at Central Oregon Community College and Oregon StateUniversity-Cascades, as well as creative writing workshops through Blank Pages Workshops, Deschutes Public Library and COCC Community Learning.

To register:
More information and free 15-minute conference:, or


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