Skip to main content


2024 Bombeck Workshop banner

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist Anna Quindlen to kick off 2024 Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Anna Quindlen will kick off the University of Dayton's 2024 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, which features a keynote slate of prolific authors and dozens of accomplished faculty. 

Registration for the nationally renowned workshop opens at noon (ET) on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the one-day-only early bird fee of $499, which includes all meals during the April 4-6 workshop — plus the opportunity to laugh, learn and be inspired. After Erma Day (E-Day), the fee is $524. A link will be posted here and on the workshop's social media channels that day.

"Prolific" may be an understatement when describing the keynoter slate, a highly creative group of writers who have published more than 50 books. Here's the line-up of headliners: 

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 MitchardNew 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 RouseUSA 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.

With a 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, the workshop's "Erma Poet Laureate," will write an Erma-inspired poem and perform it live. Plus, writers will choose from dozens of hands-on workshops with gifted faculty, including former keynoters Dion Flynn, Katrina Kittle and the writing duo of Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff.

The personal involvement of Erma Bombeck's children makes the event at their mother's alma mater memorable and sets the workshop apart from the myriad other writers' workshops offered across the country. 

It's an experience: "I've attended plenty of retreats, conferences and workshops, and I usually feel a high after each one, but the high I feel after the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop is next-level. I feel like my brain is in a vortex, but it is a magical, life-affirming one," said one attendee after last year's long weekend of laughter and learning.

For those who cannot make the creative pilgrimage to the University of Dayton in the spring, the workshop is offering "Erma Home Schooling" — live streaming of the five keynote talks and four exclusive workshops on craft, publishing and marketing. Registration opens at noon (ET) Dec. 5 at the early bird rate of $199 by March 1 or $225 after that date.

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop is co-sponsored by the University of Dayton's Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences and Bookstore; Marriott at the University of Dayton; Barnes & Noble; AuthorBytes; Writer's Digest, Progressive Printing; Markey's Rental and Staging; Washington-Centerville Public Library; National Society of Newspaper Columnists; and Julie Walling Photography, with additional support from the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Endowment Fund.

For more information, visit or email


News and Communications Staff