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.

Continue reading “SpaldingCon Workshops Go Virtual November 18-20”

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.


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.

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

THE UNINVITED

By Lesléa Newman, Writing for Children & Young Adult Faculty member

[Originally posted in The Nerdy Book Club by CBETHM on 11/12/2019. Reprinted here with permission from The Nerdy Book Club.]

Head shot by Mary Vazquez

I have been invited to hundreds of schools as a visiting author over the last several decades. And there are hundreds (thousands!) of schools who haven’t invited me. But I have never been uninvited to a school. Until now.

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A New Twist on our School of Writing Graduation Celebration

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

In recent residencies, we’ve noticed that fewer graduating students and their families have joined our farewell dinner buffet after the graduation ceremony. We’ve worried the added cost to include loved ones may be prohibitive for some, and we understand others may simply want to get away and have dinner on the town in Louisville. Besides, twenty years is a long time to keep doing the same thing, so the School of Writing team put our heads together and have asked the talented chefs of the Brown Hotel to shake things up a bit.

This spring, immediately after the graduation ceremony, we are delighted to invite graduates to bring a guest to our Gala Graduation Reception, where they can join other Spalding students, faculty, and alums for a champagne toast, and feast at the spectacular Grazing Tables the Brown will spread out before us.

The reception will allow those with off-site dinner plans to nibble and toast to your newly earned degrees before heading out. Those staying in should find enough to make an evening meal from the crudites, charcuterie boards full of chorizo, capicola, prosciutto, country ham and cheese boards with Derby Sage, Drunken Goat, smoked gouda, and baked brie. And nuts. And bruschetta. And charred asparagus. And shrimp cocktail. And sesame-crusted tuna. And roast beef. And fresh berries. And trust me, there’s more. Expect some beautiful desserts: lemon panna cotta, bites of Derby Pie, and chocolate mousse. A cash bar will be on site as well.

Again, each graduating student is invited to bring one guest to jolly up the celebration. Graduating students can buy $20 tickets for each additional guest they’d like to have join the reception. Children 12 or under may attend at no charge. And—because all of us are celebrating the graduates—there is no charge for our other enrolled Spalding students. Guests of (non-graduating) students or alums who wish to attend the Gala Graduation Reception may buy $20 tickets as well. Information on how to RSVP and buy additional tickets can be found in the residency survey that the SCPW will email out soon.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!


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.