Caroline Harris MFA ’21 Publishes Short Story "Alchemist's Coffee" in Showbear Family Circus

Harris shares her insights on Columbia’s Fiction MFA program and how her education has helped her get published

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Caroline Harris MFA ‘21 always knew she wanted to live in a big city. But it wasn’t until her senior year of high school that Harris knew she was meant to be a writer. As a high school senior, Harris was finally able to take a creative writing course, and she says, “I took it, fell in love, and the rest is history as they say.”

After graduating with an English degree from Bowling Green State University she set her sights on moving to Chicago and getting her MFA from Columbia College Chicago. In her first semester, she began writing a short story, “Alchemist’s Coffee” which has been published in the Showbear Family Circus Online Journal.

Here Harris shares her insights on Columbia’s Fiction MFA program and how her education has helped her get published:

Can you share the title of the story, a brief synopsis and where it was published?

My story is titled "Alchemist's Coffee" it is the story of an alchemist who has discovered the tonic for eternal life and decides to sell it in the form of coffee. It is originally inspired by my coffee addiction but also the Starbucks Roastery newly opened in downtown Chicago. It is published through the Showbear Family Circus online journal.

To read “Alchemist’s Coffee,” follow this link:

When was the story published? What was the process to get the story in the literary magazine?

This story was just published September 27, 2020 and the process I dedicate fully to amazing websites like and They help me search for journals to submit to and sort them by deadline and genre, which is heavenly!

How did your experience at Columbia help you write and finish your story? Are there any Columbia faculty that helped you throughout the writing process? If so, how? 

I wrote this story during my first semester as a grad student here at Columbia and both Associate Professor Patty McNair and Associate Professor Alexis Pride were great help when it came to critique and introducing the idea of model telling into my writing realm. 

How has your time at Columbia College helped you become a better writer?

Columbia has greatly expanded my writing community which is the best thing in the world to a writer! I have also expanded my reading, my genre in writing, and helped me realize that I love teaching as well, being a Writing and Rhetoric Instructor alongside my own courses. 

What is your major? How did you decide on this major?

I am currently and MFA Fiction student in my second year at Columbia. I have a passion for writing fiction wanted to spend these years focusing on bettering my craft and expanding my writing community with other dedicated writers. 

What advice do you have for current students who would like to publish stories?

I would advise making an account on They give you tons of journals and magazines to submit to as well as keep track of your past submissions so you can see what's working and what is not. New Pages is also a great resource for writers and not just for submission but for jobs as well.


Sarah Borchardt
Communications Manager