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A Hotel Room of One's Own Residency

What writer wouldn’t want to spend two all-expenses-paid, blissful weeks at a hotel in Dayton, Ohio?

Yes, a hotel. Room service. An omelette bar. The sun rising over the Great Miami River. It’s the ultimate gift for any writer — the luxury of time to write … and on the “Dayton Riviera,” no less.

That’s the premise behind A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program, what Forbes says "may be the best writer's residency in the country.

Applications will be accepted Sept. 7-28, 2021. Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, and Mike Reiss, who's written for The Simpsons for 30 years, will serve as the finalist judges. Submit here

Thanks to a generous gift from humorist and novelist Anna Lefler and in-kind support from the Marriott at the University of Dayton, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop offers two emerging humor writers the opportunity to take a deep dive into their comedy writing without pesky everyday responsibilities.

A “lifelong fangirl and devotee of Erma Bombeck,” Lefler says she was inspired to start the program in 2017 because it has the potential to transform a writer’s life.

“The chance to step away from your everyday responsibilities to concentrate on your humor writing AND have access to unlimited tiny soaps? The comedy practically writes itself,” says Lefler a Los Angeles-based author of two funny books, Preschooled and The Chicktionary, and a three-time workshop faculty member.

The 2019 contest drew applications from nearly 400 funny writers from 44 states coast to coast as well as seven countries  — Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Spain, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

Nearly 50 preliminary judges, all established writers, narrowed the field for Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry and best-selling novelist Adriana Trigiani, who selected the winners.

Grand Prize winners:

Tracy Brady, Carlisle, Massachusetts
Liz Kozak, Oak Park, Illinois

The finalists ($250 prize):

Jen Parsons, Telluride, Colorado
Frances Peacock, Indianapolis, Indiana
Rodney Uhler, Brooklyn, New York
Jillian Van Hefty, Waconia, Minnesota

The honorable mentions ($100 prize):

Ilene Haddad, Austin, Texas
Tara Rosenblum, New York, New York
Kate Thompson, Des Moines, Iowa
Sarah Zimmerman, Royal Oak, Michigan

The biennial program is open to all humor writers regardless of gender or comedic point of view. For more information, visit