May 1, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 15

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    Festival of the Arts will introduce new creative writing celebration

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    From Saul Bellow and Richard Stern, to David Auburn and Mark Strand, the University has long had a rich tradition of nurturing accomplished creative writers. Now, the University will celebrate its tradition of excellence in creative writing.

    As part of the University-wide Festival of the Arts, the University will sponsor its first annual, Writers at Chicago: A Celebration, Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10, in Bartlett Hall.

    Heidi Coleman, Director of University Theater, and a founder of Writers at Chicago, said the event, which is sponsored by the Kestnbaum Family Cultural Activities Fund and the newly formed University Creative Writing Committee, seeks not only to honor the distinguished writers who are teaching and have taught at Chicago, but also to showcase the University’s newly formed programs in creative writing and to provide a workshop for writing in progress.

    “Literary production at Chicago is thriving,” said Coleman, “because it’s an integral part of humanistic inquiry, and it demands that students develop new ways of working with and educating audiences and new ways of engaging traditional academic work.”

    The event will kick off at 2 p.m. Friday, May 9, with a three-hour fiction reading that will showcase the works of authors Richard Stern, the Helen A. Regenstein Professor Emeritus in English Language & Literature; William Veeder, Professor in English Language & Literature; Kenneth Warren, Professor in English Language & Literature; and Megan Stielstra, a visiting lecturer in creative writing from Columbia College.

    The reading also will profile the work of a yet-to-be-determined student writer, who will be selected from a campus-wide competition. A reception will be held at 5 p.m. following the readings.

    Writers at Chicago will resume at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, in Bartlett Hall with two writing workshops. The first, led by Stielstra, will focus on fiction technique, while the second, led by Margaret Sloan, a visiting lecturer in creative writing of Mills College, will focus on poetry. A reception will follow the workshops at 5 p.m.

    The event will conclude with a poetry reading at 6 p.m., which will feature the work of some of the country’s leading poets: Mark Strand, Professor in the Committee on Social Thought; Karen Volkman, Visiting Assistant Professor in English Language & Literature, who also is the Springer Poet-in-Residence; Campbell McGrath, a professor in creative writing of Florida International University; poet Alane Rollings; and Sloan. As in the fiction panel, the poetry panel also will spotlight the work of a student writer chosen from a college-wide competition.

    All events are free and open to the public. Registration for the workshops will be on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a space, contact Melissa Binion at (773) 702-8356.