Thursday February 9, 2017

Budding Creativity

The University of Dayton and Antioch Writers' Workshop are partnering to serve the Dayton-area creative writing community through educational programming, mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities.

Effective March 2017, the University department of English will be home to an office of the organization — now known as the Antioch Writers' Workshop at University of Dayton. Spring and summer workshops will be held on the University campus; additional programs will continue elsewhere throughout the year. The organization will maintain its independent, nonprofit status.

"We are very excited by our partnership with the Antioch Writers' Workshop and the opportunities for students and faculty that will be possible," said Andy Slade, associate professor and English department chair. "We are confident our shared mission to foster excellence in writing will be nourished by the energy and work of students, faculty and the community."

The Antioch Writers' Workshop offers creative writing workshops, seminars and retreats to poetry, fiction and nonfiction writers from across the U.S. Launched in 1986 as a summer workshop at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the organization became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1991, holding programs at locations in Yellow Springs and throughout Ohio. It was partnered with Antioch University Midwest from 2009-2016.

The University of Dayton is also home to the popular biennial Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the nation's only workshop devoted to humor and human interest writing. With the Antioch partnership, the University will now host two nationally renowned workshops for professional writers and students. Increased awareness and program synergies will allow the Antioch Writers' Workshop to attract more creative writers from across the region, provide economical campus housing for summer participants and expand its reach.

The English department plans to develop a for-credit creative writing course incorporating the workshop's summer program. This course will be available to all students who attend universities and colleges covered by the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education.

"We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunities it presents both for our organization and for the University of Dayton," says Kate Geiselman, acting president of the workshop's board of directors. ''When we realized we'd enjoy mutual benefits and greater opportunities for serving the writing community in the Dayton region and beyond, we knew we'd be remiss not to explore developing a partnership with the University of Dayton."

The workshop board voted unanimously to approve the transition. The board and current staff, executive director Sharon Short and assistant director Cyndi Pauwels, will remain intact as part of the partnership.

The summer workshop program offers keynotes, classes and seminars led by writers from across the country, including such luminaries as Roxane Gay, Nikki Giovanni, Joyce Carol Oates, Andre Dubus III, John Grogan, Sue Grafton, Ralph Keyes and many others. Yellow Springs-based NPR affiliate WYSO-FM (91.3) airs the workshop's summer faculty readings on its online platform, giving the workshop a potential global reach.

The keynote speaker for the 2017 summer program July 8-14 is award-winning, best-selling science fiction author John Scalzi of Bradford, Ohio. Workshop faculty also includes well-regarded authors from the Dayton area and from across the U.S.

The workshop is made possible in part by funding from the Ohio Arts Council as well as through registration fees and donations from its supporters.

For more information about the workshop's mission and program, visit www.antiochwritersworkshop.com.

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