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It's Erma Time!

Emmy Award-winner Cathy Guisewite, creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip and an essayist, returns to her hometown to kick off the March 24-26 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton.

Registration for the in-person workshop opens at noon (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 9. A link will be shared that morning in the workshop’s e-newsletter and via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The registration fee, which includes meals, is $499 with full scholarships available beginning in January for University of Dayton students, courtesy of the Alumni Association.

The fee includes full access to a *virtual* package of the keynote talks and the entertaining, educational Pitchapalooza for attendees to experience again long after the workshop ends. For those interested in the virtual option only, the registration fee is $79. From the comfort of your home (think: pajamas!), attendees can enjoy the keynote talks in real time, participate in a live chat with other writers who are joining virtually or tap back in later at their convenience.

Here's the slate of keynote speakers:

Bruce Cameron and Cathryn Michon, authors and screenwriters for major motion pictures based on Cameron’s popular novels. New York Times’ bestselling author Adriana Trigiani will engage in an entertaining, lively conversation with the husband-wife duo.

Dion Flynn, improvisor, comedian and actor best known for playing Barack Obama onThe Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Cathy Guisewite, cartoonist whose “Cathy” comic strip appeared in 1,400 newspapers at its peak and was displayed on refrigerator doors across the land. She’s the author of a funny memoir, Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years, and Scenes from Isolation, a humorous gift book of “Cathy” cartoons described as “a treasured scrapbook of what we survived” during the pandemic.

Katrina Kittle, award-winning author of five books and popular public speaker.

Laraine Newman, writer, founding member of the LA-based comedy troupe, The Groundlings, and an original cast member on Saturday Night Live. In 2021, she wrote and narrated an audiobook memoir, May You Live in Interesting Times.

The workshop’s faculty will feature New York Times’ bestselling authors, a Saturday Night Live legend, Emmy Award winners, Thurber Prize winners, a Moth GrandSLAM winner, screenwriters and a slew of celebrated comedians and authors. The presenters include an amazing 10 former keynoters. Stand-up comedian Leighann Lord, who is currently appearing in the Showtime special, “Even More Funny Women of a Certain Age,” will emcee with her special blend of grace and humor. The workshop will finish with hilarity at an attendee stand-up comedy show hosted by stand-up comedian Wendy Liebman.

In all, the workshop will feature 30 professional writers and teachers on the faculty, who will offer sessions on the craft of writing, turning an interest into a profession, writing humor, marketing, publishing and more. Read more about the 2022 keynoters and faculty and peruse the workshop sessions

Masks will be required indoors for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status. While proof of vaccination to attend is not mandatory, vaccination is highly encouraged. The majority of faculty, staff and students are vaccinated on the University of Dayton’s campus.

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.

Over the past decade, the workshop has attracted such household names as Dave Barry, Phil Donahue, Art Buchwald, Nancy Cartwright, Don Novello, Gail Collins, Connie Schultz, Roy Blount Jr., Mike and Peggy Rowe, Amy Ephron, Lisa Scottoline and Liza Donnelly.

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, who told her three magical words: “You can write!”

The workshop is co-sponsored by the University of Dayton's Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences and Bookstore as well as Books & Co., the Washington-Centerville Public Library, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Writer's Digest, Progressive Printers, Books Forward, Markey's Audio Visual, Julie Walling Photography and A Hotel Room of One's Own: the Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.

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