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2024 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop




Take a look at this sensational slate of speakers for the April 4-6 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop at the University of Dayton and put your name on our waitlist if you're interested in joining us. We will reach out when we have a cancellation.

The fee is $524. Full scholarships will be available for University of Dayton students, courtesy of the Alumni Association. 

Here's the line-up of keynote speakers:

Beth Lapides, creator, host and executive producer of Uncabaret, which she has shepherded through more than 25 years of weekly live shows, TV, CDs, streaming and touring. The Los Angeles Times calls her the “godmother of alternative comedy.”

Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of 23 novels for adults and teenagers. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural Oprah’s Book Club selection; it was adapted into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Zibby Owens, author of three books; creator and host of the daily podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books; and founder and CEO of Zibby Media. Vulture dubbed her "NYC's Most Powerful Book-fluencer."

Wade Rouse, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of five memoirs and 12 novels. Writes fiction under his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the Ozarks seamstress whose sacrifices changed his family’s life. Writer’s Digest named him “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (he was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson).

Anna Quindlen, novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction and self-help bestseller lists. She will be interviewed on stage by award-winning television anchor and broadcast journalist Marsha Bonhart.

With her special blend of grace and humor, stand-up comedian and author Leighann Lord returns to emcee. In other special features, New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein will live draw during the workshop, and Barbara Fant, our very own Erma Poet Laureate, will write an Erma-inspired poem and perform it live. Plus you'll choose from dozens of hands-on workshops with gifted faculty. Not to mention meals, snacks and networking galore.

The workshop will kick off Thursday night with Anna Quindlen’s keynote talk; feature book signings with presenters on Friday night; and finish with hilarity at an attendee stand-up comedy show on Saturday night hosted by stand-up comedian Jane Condon, dubbed "an uppercrust Roseanne" by the Associated Press. In all, the workshop will feature two dozen professional writers and teachers on the faculty, who will offer sessions on the craft of writing, humor writing, publishing, marketing and social media.

Read more about all of the 2024 keynoters and faculty, as well as the workshop sessions.

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is the only one in the country devoted to both humor and human interest writing. Through the workshop, the University of Dayton and the Bombeck family honor one of America’s most celebrated storytellers and humorists.

Since its founding in 2000, the workshop has attracted such household names as Dave Barry, Phil Donahue, Cathy Guisewite, Art Buchwald, Nancy Cartwright, Don Novello, Gail Collins, Connie Schultz, Roy Blount Jr., Mike and Peggy Rowe, Lisa Scottoline, Liza Donnelly, Amy Ephron, Laraine Newman and Alan Zweibel, among other celebrated writers.

In 2019, The Writer magazine named the workshop the best writing conference in Ohio and “THE conference for humor writers.” Immensely popular, it attracts writers from all over the nation and beyond.

The atmosphere is very supportive to both new and established writers looking for the kind of inspiration Erma received from University of Dayton English professor Brother Tom Price: “You can write!”

And you’re guaranteed to laugh. A lot.

P.S. If you encourage a new writer to register for the spring workshop, we’ll put both of your names in a drawing to win an Erma-style "Thelma and Louise" gift bag — two Erma wine glasses, two coffee mugs, a selfie stick — and seats at a keynote meal with Erma’s kids. (Bail money not included.) After you both register, email your names to The winners will be announced at the workshop. 


Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop