SpaldingCon Workshops Go Virtual November 18-20

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

The School of Creative and Professional Writing faculty at Spalding University is delighted to offer more than 20 three-day generative workshops in a virtual format to alumni through SpaldingCon, our post-graduate writers’ conference. Offering the workshops virtually allows our writers to generate new work from home during the Covid-19 crisis.

The workshops offer superb advanced instruction by our master teachers and provides participants with opportunities to begin new projects, refocus on works in progress, or gain new professional development.

Choose from Douglas Manuel’s “Poetry of Witness in the Time of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter,” Fenton Johnson’s “Reading and Writing as Spiritual Practice,” John Pipkin’s “10 Prompts for 10 Stories: A Fast-paced Generative Writing Workshop,” Lesléa Newman’s “Read It Again: The Art of Writing Picture Books,” Jeremy Paden’s “Translation as a Generative Practice Workshop,” or one of the other fabulous offerings you’ll see below.

Each workshop meets remotely for two hours a day in small groups to ensure optimal internet connectivity and meaningful group discussion. SpaldingCon attendees also have the opportunity to attend streamed or recorded lectures, readings, plenary events, and social events in addition to their special-topic workshops. The cost for SpaldingCon is $475.

No workshop calls for submission of a worksheet before meeting, but some ask participants to complete pre-reading assignments before attending. Each description below will offer specific details.

Erin Keane, Editor-in-Chief of Salon.com

Alumni and MFA grads from other institutions may also be interested in a longer professional writing workshop that meets Saturday to Saturday, November 14-22, during residency, and offers opportunities to add skills needed in the professional writing workplace, including content development, grant-writing, document design, social media and press relations. Alternatively, alums and grads from other MFA programs may attend a full-residency (Saturday to Saturday) interactive editing and publishing workshop led by Erin Keane, Editor-in-Chief of Salon.com. Erin’s workshop provides a terrific and unique opportunity to learn about the world of publishing and editing for commercial and literary presses from the inside. Email us for costs and more information about these professional writing workshops at schoolofwriting@spalding.edu.

Read on for special-topic workshop descriptions.

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Being Alone

By Sam Zalutsky, Screenwriting Faculty, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

I was recently reading James Baldwin’s short essay, “The Creative Process,” from 1962. And with apologies for the gendered language, it offers wonderful insights about the artist’s role in society. Baldwin writes: “Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.”

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Writing in Times of Uncertainty

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

This post originally appeared as a Facebook post on March 21, 2020.

Spalding students, I hear some of you are having a hard time writing in this time of uncertainty. Me, too. And this is exacerbated by the fact that your worksheet submissions are due April 22. But here’s something I know you’ve learned in Spalding’s program: All writing is born from other writing. The other thing I know you’ve gained from this program is at least one writing friend.

Reach out to that friend and reawaken the lost art and appreciation for letter writing. What would the world of writing be like—what would the world be like—if we didn’t have the letters of Virginia Woolf, Rilke, Keats, Audre Lorde, Flannery O’Connor, Dickinson?

Connect with at least one writing friend (maybe create a circle of three or four) and begin a serious correspondence. Ask each other open-ended questions about the art of writing, your own writing, the world around us—focus on asking questions surrounding our senses or about experiences we are having or remembering in this time of isolation. Commit to meaningful challenging conversation in letters. Hold each other accountable. Encourage one another to spin off into other writing when these letters surprise us with wonderful ideas and observations.

Remember, all writing, every aspect of it, is about connection.


Award-winning poet and teacher Kathleen Driskell is the MFA Chair and Professor of Creative Writing at Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing, Home of the Low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. Her newest poetry collection Blue Etiquette is available from Red Hen Press. Next Door to the Dead, winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award is available from UPKY. Follow her @kathdriskell or visit her blog at kathleendriskell.blogspot.com.


The Power of Visual Literature

By Beth Ann Bauman, Writing for Children & Young Adult Faculty

If you’re a YA writer, you already know you need to read a wide variety of literature, including YA, of course, and general fiction with teen protagonists.  But I’d argue it can be just as helpful to study good TV and movies about teens.  If you’re struggling, say, to move a character through a narrative, visual literature (TV and movies) is really good at externalizing the internal landscape of a character.  There’s also an economy of language on the screen that can be really useful to the apprentice writer who needs to learn focus.   

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Academy Award-winning BlacKkKlansman Screenwriter Kevin Willmott wins 2020 Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature

Willmott, filmmaker and film professor, speaks at Spalding University on May 28.

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, School of Creative and Professional Writing

I am delighted to announce that Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kevin Willmott is the 2020 recipient of the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature. The Spalding Prize, which comes with an award of $7,500, was established to honor literary work that exemplifies the mission of Spalding University and its commitment to compassion.

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Writing for TV and Tabletop Game Design: Two Special Workshops for Spring 2020 Residency. Applications Open Now

Two cutting-edge areas of creative writing—writing for television and writing for tabletop games—gain special focus in two unique workshops offered May 22-31 during the Spring 2020 residency of Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.  

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Announcing the Full Line-up of Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, Nov. 16-22

Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, takes place Saturday, November 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer. Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

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Screenwriter Bruce Marshall Romans Joins the Faculty of Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing

By Katy Yocom, Spalding School of Writing Associate Director

Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing welcomes acclaimed television and film writer and producer Bruce Marshall Romans to the faculty. Romans, whose television writing and producing credits include Hell on Wheels and Marvel’s The Punisher, will deliver a lecture about writing for TV at the upcoming November residency before taking on full teaching duties with the Spring 2020 semester, when he will lead a writers’ room workshop at the May residency and mentor screenwriting students in independent study.

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The ups & downs of creating a micro-budget feature film

By Sam Zalutsky, Spalding School of Writing Dramatic Writing Faculty

This week, my “new” movie, Seaside (@seasidemovie on Instagram and Facebook), a revenge thriller set on the Oregon Coast, was released by Gravitas Ventures (@gravitasVOD) on multiple streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, and Vimeo. For a while I wondered if Seaside would ever see the light of day so I am really excited and grateful to be able to share it with you.

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