Emory Report
November 5, 2007
Volume 60, Number 10

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November 5, 2007
Diverse slate of authors highlights 2007–08 Creative Writing series

By paula vitaris

Emory’s Creative Writing Program, now in its 18th year, is working actively to expand events and opportunities to the entire Emory community. The program’s Reading Series brings to campus each year an exciting and diverse slate of authors who give readings and colloquia and also have the opportunity to meet their audience in social settings such as receptions and lunches with students. Over the past year, the Creative Writing Program has also revived the Friends of Creative Writing group, and for the first time is sponsoring a novel-writing contest.

The Reading Series’ first reader this year was novelist and playwright Shay Youngblood, who gave the third annual Phillis Wheatley Reading in October. The event was co-sponsored by the African American Studies Department.

The next Reading Series visitor is playwright and screenwriter José Rivera, whose work includes the OBIE-winning plays “Marisol” and “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” and the Oscar-nominated screenplay for “The Motorcycle Diaries.” Rivera will read a selection of monologues from his play “Sonnets for an Old Century,” and discuss survival and process as a playwright

and screenwriter (Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., Jones Room, Woodruff Library). Rivera’s reading will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m., with a booksigning afterward. He will also hold a colloquium (Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., N301 Callaway Center). Rivera’s visit is co-sponsored by the Theater Studies Department and The Playwriting Center at Emory.

The spring semester’s first event will be a reading by two faculty members, poet Bruce Covey and Creative Writing Fellow in Fiction Laleh Khadivi (Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m., Jones Room; reception at
6 p.m., booksigning follows).

During Women’s History Month in March, the program will present, with co-sponsors the Department of Women’s Studies and the Women’s Center, the third Feminist Founders Reading, featuring the novelist Dorothy Allison.

Allison, whose work includes “Bastard Out of Carolina” and “Cavedweller,” is spending three months on campus in the spring as the 2007–08 Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry Distinguished Visiting Professor. In addition to teaching a Creative Writing fiction workshop, Allison will participate in a number of events on campus that will be open to the public, including her reading (March 3, 8:15 p.m., Jones Room; reception and booksigning follow).

“I’m thrilled to have one of the best writers in the country coming to Emory for an extended residency,” said Creative Writing Program Director Jim Grimsley. “The group of students who are able to study with her will be very lucky as she’s an amazing teacher. She’ll be featured in events that everybody on campus will be invited to attend, so we’ll be spreading the wealth around. We’d like to have a visiting writer like this every year. The presence of writers like Allison and Salman Rushdie on our campus brings us intense energy.”

The final event is Awards Night (April 16, 8 p.m., Cannon Chapel; reception follows), during which the winners of the annual student writing contests are announced. Following the awards presentation there will be a reading by Richard Powers, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction for his novel “The Echo Maker.” Powers will also hold a colloquium (April 17, 2:30–3:30 p.m., N301 Callaway Center). Powers’ visit is co-sponsored by the Hightower Program.

The Friends of Creative Writing was reinvigorated last year, starting with a reading by novelist and playwright Elizabeth Dewberry. Grimsley recently taught a Saturday master class in fiction writing that was open to Friends and their guests. More events are planned for the future, and membership information is available at www.creativewriting.emory.edu/series/Friends.html.

The Creative Writing Program has also launched a novel-writing contest, “Emory Goes Novel,” in conjunction with Emory’s own “Doc Hollywood,” professor Neil Shulman of the School of Medicine. The contest, to be judged by Grimsley, is aimed at discovering Emory writers and is open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents of students, and members of the various Emory arts departments’ Friends groups. The winner of the contest will receive print-on-demand publication of the novel by a reputable publisher of PoD books. First entries are due in February 2008 with final submissions by April and the winner announced in May. Further information about eligibility and deadlines is available at the contest Web site at www.cradiance.com.

Visit www.creativewriting.emory.edu to learn more.