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2024 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Schedule

Ermapalooza!

ImageThe 2024 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop includes two pre-workshop virtual events; an optional free workshop; recognition of competition winners; five keynote addresses; dozens of hands-on workshops; performance of an original poem inspired by Erma; optional individual pitch sessions with agents; book signings; an open mic night for readings; a stand-up comedy show — and a field trip to view the exhibit, "Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck's Story" with the Bombeck family. Plus meals, snacks — and networking!

Download printable schedule
Download printable special features and sessions

Schedule (Subject to change)

Pitchapalooza

8 p.m. EST, Monday, Oct. 9
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

A workshop favorite! Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only kinder and gentler). Twenty writers were selected at random to pitch their book ideas. Each writer received one minute — and only one minute! Known as the Book Doctors, Eckstut and Sterry helped these writers — and everyone in the audience — improve their pitches. They critiqued everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace. Authors and audience came away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether you pitched yourself or simply listened to trained professionals critique other writers, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining. At the end, Eckstut and Sterry selected a winner who will receive an introduction to an appropriate agent or publisher. Numerous authors have received publishing deals due to Pitchapalooza.

View a recording of the event here

 


Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck’s Story, a display of the Erma Bombeck Collection (Free and open to the public)
Feb. 1- June 15
Rose Gallery, Roesch Library

Attendees will have the opportunity to view the exhibit with the Bombeck family on Saturday, April 6.

At an opening dessert reception at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, Gina Barreca, bestselling author, humorist and feminist scholar, will give the keynote address; Matt Bombeck, Erma Bombeck’s son and a screenwriter, also will give remarks. The event is free and open to the public and will be livestreamed. Register here for either the in-person or virtual option.

Erma Bombeck (1927–1996) was a trailblazing humor writer, bestselling author and syndicated columnist whose creative genesis began as a University of Dayton student. In this engaging exhibit, her multifaceted life and legacy are told through the Erma Bombeck Collection, including correspondence, notes, photographs and even her typewriter. Bombeck’s witty observations and roles of writer, housewife, feminist, humorist, mother, activist, philanthropist, columnist and pioneer are inseparably linked and continue to connect us to her story.


Erma’s Got Talent: The Stand-Up Auditions (Virtual)

7 p.m. (EST), Wednesday, Feb. 28
Hosted by Nancy Berk, featuring celebrity judges Jane Condon, Wendy Liebman and Joel Madison

Put your business card in the ring for a chance to test your two-minute stand-up routine in front of an EBWW audience and three stand-up veterans giving insight and constructive criticism. Whether you get the golden buzzer or just some solid advice for taking it to the next level, this pre-workshop session helps participants and attendees craft better comedy and performances. Selected participants will be added to the Saturday night lineup. Others will be chosen randomly after the auditions, and Jane Condon will select three more from her Stand-Up Comedy Boot Camp.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required for participants and the audience. (Attendees, please check your email box for info on how to express your interest in auditioning.)

View a recording of the 2022 event here


Save My Spot!

You Can Write, Too: Finding Your Voice (free and open to the public)
Sharon Short
3-5 p.m., Wednesday, April 3
Roesch Library Collab (Room 240)

Free, but registration is required. 

Do you ever stare at your blank screen or page, filled with the desire to write yet stymied about where to start? Or do you review something you’ve written and wonder how to make it better?

Learn how to set yourself free of your writing fears and find your own compelling writing voice, just like Erma Bombeck did when a University of Dayton English professor told her, “You can write!”

Award-winning novelist and longtime columnist Sharon Short will help writers of all experience levels with writing tips and techniques to dig to the good stuff — a unique point of view to bring experiences and stories to the page in a way that will connect with readers. Using Bombeck’s columns as prompts, Short will guide you through brief writing exercises that will build your confidence as you tap into your humor, hone a distinctive voice, and find your path as a writer. Because you can write, too!

Sponsored by the University of Dayton’s Roesch Library as part of special events surrounding the exhibit Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck’s Story in the Rose Gallery.


Register Here for the Waitlist

Erma Bombeck Writing Competition Awards Ceremony (free and open to the public)
Keynoted by Betsy Bombeck
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3
Woodbourne Library
6060 Far Hills Ave., Centerville, Ohio

Erma Bombeck’s daughter, Betsy Bombeck, will give the keynote address. Sponsored by the Washington-Centerville Public Library, this event is free and open to the public, but registration is required, and seating is limited. The winners also will be honored at dinner on Friday, April 5.


Register Here

(Subject to change)

2-9 p.m.
Attendee check-in
Marriott at the University of Dayton (lobby)

4-6 p.m.
Networking reception
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds and outdoor courtyard, weather permitting)
(cash bar)

4-9 p.m.
EBWW bookstore open
Tradewinds

6 p.m. — Welcome dinner with keynote Anna Quindlen in conversation with award-winning television anchor and broadcast journalist Marsha Bonhart
Marriott at the University of Dayton (ballroom)

(Dinner program includes the ceremonial robing of two grand prize winners of A Hotel Room of One’s Own: Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.)

8 p.m. — Book signing with Anna Quindlen
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds)

9 p.m. — Open Mic Night at Erma with Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff
Marriott at the University of Dayton (ballroom)


(Subject to change)

7:15-8:30 a.m. (loop)
Shuttle bus from Marriott at the University of Dayton to Daniel J. Curran Place

7:30-9 a.m.
Attendee check-in (lobby of Daniel J. Curran Place)
Buffet breakfast (Riverview Café)

7:45-8:45 a.m.
Erma Made Me Do It! — Kathy Shiels Tully
Optional session (for early risers!)
Alumni Center North

9-10:15 a.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

Mastering Voice: Finding the Magic Mix — Jessica Strawser
Marshall Room

Knock Three Times: The Three-Beat Technique Writers Use to Create Magic — Lori Jakiela
Meyer Room

Pitch Your Book in Two Sentences — Ann Garvin
Alumni Center North

Essays Gone Wild — Susan Pohlman
Auditorium

Create Your Author Website: Shine Like a Pro — Laura Spinella and Audrey Bennett
M2265

Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly — William Kenower
M2380

Break

10:35-11:50 a.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

How to Be Erma Bombeck But You: Writing Funny Personal Essays — Elisa Bassist
Marshall Room

Jumpstart Your Writing: Prompts to Get the Words on the Page — Katrina Kittle
Meyer Room

Humor on Tap: A Psychologist, Humorist and Chat GPT Walk Into a Bar — Mark Shatz
Alumni Center North

Connect Through Setting: How to Build a World Readers Want to Enter — Julie Cantrell
Auditorim

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make — Tiffany Yates Martin
M2265

I Want to Self-Publish; Now What? — Kerrie Flanagan
M2380

Noon-1:30 p.m. — Lunch with keynote Zibby Owens
Riverview Café

(Lunch program includes drawing for "Thelma and Louise" winners.)

1:30-2 p.m. — Break and book signing with Zibby Owens

2-3:15 p.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

Mastering Voice: Finding the Magic Mix — Jessica Strawser
Marshall Room

It’s Funny Because It’s (not) True: Writing Humorous Fiction — Jane Roper
Meyer Room

Find Your Readers: The Ultimate Book Marketing Workshop (offered once) — Eva Lesko Natiello
Alumni Center North

Memoir: The Landscape of the Personal — Kelly McMasters
Auditorium

Stand-Up Comedy Boot Camp (offered once) — Jane Condon
M2265

Create Your Author Website: Shine Like a Pro — Laura Spinella and Audrey Bennett
M2380

Break

3:35-4:50 p.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly — William Kenower
Marshall Room

Social Media Bliss: How to Engage with Meaning Without Losing Your Mind (one time only) — Jane Friedman
Meyer Room

Improv on Paper: How to Uncover Your Voice — Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff
Alumni Center North

Getting Your Writing Noticed with Micro Memoir — Estelle Erasmus
Auditorium

Essay Shakedown: Reported Essays and Op-Eds — Amy Paturel and Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
M2265

What’s That Smell? Five Tips for Using Your Senses to Bring Your Prose to Life — Sharon Short
S2006

3:30-5:30 p.m.
Shuttle buses to Marriott at the University of Dayton (loop)

5-11 p.m.
EBWW bookstore open
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds)

6 p.m. — Dinner with keynote Beth Lapides
Marriott at the University of Dayton (ballroom)

(Dinner program includes performance of an original Erma-inspired poem by Erma Poet Laureate Barbara Fant and recognition of the winners of the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.)

8:30-10 p.m. — Book signing with all workshop presenters
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds)
(cash bar)


(Subject to change)

7:15-8:30 a.m. (loop)
Shuttle bus from Marriott at the University of Dayton to Daniel J. Curran Place

7:30–9 a.m.
Attendee check-in (lobby of Daniel J. Curran Place)
Continental breakfast (Riverview Café)

9-10:15 a.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

Memoir: The Landscape of the Personal — Kelly McMasters
Marshall Room

Humor on Tap: A Psychologist, Humorist and ChatGPT Walk into a Bar — Mark Shatz
Meyer Room

Build a Better Freelance Business (one time only) — Jane Friedman
Alumni Center North

Jumpstart Your Writing: Prompts to Get the Words on the Page — Katrina Kittle
Auditorium

Essay Shakedown: Reported Essays and Op-Eds — Amy Paturel and Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
M2265

It’s Funny Because It’s (not) True: Writing Humorous Fiction — Jane Roper
S2006

Break

10:35-11:50 a.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

Knock Three Times: The Three-Beat Technique Writers Use to Create Magic — Lori Jakiela
Marshall Room

Pitch Your Book in Two Sentences — Ann Garvin
Meyer Room

Improv on Paper: How to Uncover Your Voice — Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff
Alumni Center North

Essays Gone Wild — Susan Pohlman
Auditorium

Connect Through Setting: How to Build a World Readers Want to Enter — Julie Cantrell
M2265

NaNoWriMo: How to Prepare, Survive and Succeed (one time only) — Eva Lesko Natiello
S2006

Break

Noon-1:30 p.m. — Lunch with keynote Jacquelyn Mitchard
Riverview Café

(Lunch program includes the awarding of Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop scholarships to University of Dayton students, funded by attendee donations.)

1:30-2 p.m. — Break and book signing with Jacquelyn Mitchard

2-3:15 p.m. — Six concurrent sessions (choose one)

You But Funnier (one time only) — Beth Lapides
Marshall Room

Getting Your Writing Noticed with Micro Memoir — Estelle Erasmus
Meyer Room

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make — Tiffany Yates Martin
Alumni Center North

How to Be Erma Bombeck But You: Writing Funny Personal Essays — Elissa Bassist
Auditorium

I Want to Self-Publish; Now What? — Kerrie Flanagan
M2265

What’s That Smell? Five Tips for Using Your Senses to Bring Your Prose to Life — Sharon Short
S2006

Break (attendee free time, with optional activities)

3:30-5:30 p.m.

Shuttle bus to Marriott at the University of Dayton (loop)

3:30 p.m.
Stand-Up Comedy Night rehearsal with Jane Condon and stand-up comics
Kiefaber Room, Marriott at the University of Dayton

Erma Road Trip! 
Tours beginning at 3:30 p.m. 

Featuring a drive on Erma Bombeck Way to Woodland Cemetery to visit Erma’s gravesite; photo opportunities at the Erma Bombeck historical marker and commemorative tree outside St. Mary’s Hall on the University of Dayton campus; and a viewing of the exhibit Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck’s Story in the Rose Gallery on the first floor of Roesch Library. Shuttle bus tours available. Attendees with cars are encouraged to carpool.

3:30-5:30 p.m.
Shuttle buses to Marriott at the University of Dayton (loop)

5-9:30 p.m.

EBWW bookstore open
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds)

6:30 p.m. — Dinner with keynote Wade Rouse
Marriott at the University of Dayton (ballroom)

(Dinner program includes recognition of DC Stanfa Memorial Writers' Award recipients.)

8:30 p.m.
Book Signing with Wade Rouse
Marriott at the University of Dayton (lobby)

8:30-9:30 p.m. — Photo booth (share your photos on social media!)
Marriott at the University of Dayton (Tradewinds)
(cash bar)

9:30-11 p.m. — Attendee Stand-Up Comedy Night with host Jane Condon
Marriott at the University of Dayton (ballroom)


CONTACT

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

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