Skip to main content


A Hotel Room of One's Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program

Two Words: Clean Towels

“Two words: clean towels,” one writer wrote in a pitch to be selected for A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.

The University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is once again offering two emerging humor writers the opportunity to compete for an all-expenses-paid trip to Dayton, Ohio — birthplace of Erma Bombeck. Here, the winners will be “robed” in plush, custom-embroidered bathrobes and given free registration to the April 4-6, 2024, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

But there’s more.

As part of this fun, unconventional writing residency, the winners will spend two blissful weeks at the University of Dayton Marriott, the workshop’s official hotel and an in-kind sponsor, to attend the workshop and work on their humor projects.

Yes, a hotel with a “Do Not Disturb” sign that can be draped over the door knob. Free room service. An omelet bar. A housekeeping staff. A TV remote of one’s own. The sun rising over the Great Miami River (aka, the Dayton Riviera).  It’s the ultimate gift for any writer — the luxury of time to write.

Applications will be accepted Sept. 5-Oct. 5, with entries blind-judged by preliminary and finalist judges, all established writers. Improvisor Dion Flynn, best known as Barack Obama (and other characters) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and comedy writer Monica Piper, head writer for the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats, will serve as finalist judges. Apply here.

The package for the grand prize winners is worth approximately $5,000, but the experience is priceless. Finalists and honorable mentions will win cash prizes ($250 and $100).

The program is open to all aspiring humor writers regardless of gender or comedic point of view. Writers working on novels, narrative non-fiction, plays, essays, sitcom scripts and other humor writing are encouraged to apply, with special consideration given to emerging writers. The application fee is $25. Winners will be announced in November.

The application does not require a new piece of writing. Writers are asked to describe their project and themselves and upload a writing sample of no more than 1,250 words, “of which at least 47 percent are really funny.” For more information about the program, visit the website, read the FAQs and then apply here for what Forbes says “may be the best writer’s residency in the country.”

Founded in 2000, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop has been dubbed the “Woodstock of Humor.” It’s the only workshop in the country devoted to both humor and human interest writing. Besides the writer’s residency, the workshop also co-sponsors an international writing competition.

Previous Post

Entertainers Extraordinaire

Improvisor Dion Flynn, best known as Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and comedy writer Monica Piper, head writer for Rugrats, will select two humor writers for a fun, unconventional writing residency that promises winners the gift of time to hole up in a hotel, write — and order free room service.
Read More
Next Post

Car Seats Forever

The bane of any grandparent’s existence: getting the car seat installed correctly, picking up the child and trying to fit him in the seat, buckling the child without pinching his leg and tightening the straps so the child cannot move or take his arms out of the strait jacket/car seat.
Read More