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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THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT LIFE BEFORE THE VIRUS

[First appeared in New Verse News]

By Lesléa Newman, Writing for Children & Young Adults Faculty, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

I.
I remember shaking hands:
damp, sweaty hands and dry, scratchy hands,
bone-crushing handshakes and dead-fish handshakes,
two-handed handshakes, my hand sandwiched
between a pair of big beefy palms.
I remember hairy hands and freckled hands,
young smooth hands and old wrinkled hands,
red polished fingernails and bitten jagged fingernails,
stained hands of hairdressers who had spent all day dying,
dirty hands of gardeners who dug down deep into the good earth.

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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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The Power & Wonder of Revision

By Leah Henderson, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Spalding School of Writing Faculty

On any given day, I hear or read a new article, blog post, or craft chapter offering up what an author believes to be the “best writing advice.” It feels as if everyone thinks they have the answers, but of course most of the answers are different. And you know what, that’s okay, because no two writers are alike. We each have distinct ways of writing, seeing, and interpreting the world around us. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we’d each have different approaches for creating stories.

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The Intricacies of Time in Story

By Edie Hemingway, Writing for Children & Young Adult Faculty

As we enter not only a new year, but a new decade, I find myself thinking a lot about time. How unsettled these times are. How fast it flies by. And what does the future hold? When I looked for a simple definition of time, this was the first of many I came across: “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”  An endless progression!

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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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A Cornucopia of Riches for Our Spalding Writing Community: Fall 2019 Residency Overview

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

Here’s something I’ve learned. Nearly everybody thinks they have a picture book in them. Another thing I’ve learned? To underestimate the expertise needed to write a good picture book is foolish. At Spalding’s Fall 2019 SCPW residency in Louisville, we’ll give our writers a chance to explore picture book practice during our cross-genre venture into Writing for Children and Young Adults.

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Multiple Perspectives: To Use or Not

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

Maybe it’s just me, but the use of multiple perspectives in middle-grade and YA fiction seems to have swelled in the last decade. And it’s understandable why this is an appealing choice for a writer. It’s fun to head hop, use different voices, and create a broader understanding of the world. When done well, it makes for a satisfying, compelling read, such as in the young-adult novel Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a WWII story that follows four narrators seeking passage on a ship to escape a Soviet advance. The shifting perspectives provide a wide lens on this historical event while keeping a strong narrative focus. But handling multiple perspectives is tricky and complicated, and a book can easily lose its narrative unity.  Before attempting, here are some considerations:   

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The Fall 2019 Residency Book in Common Is Actually Two Books: Gene Luen Yang’s Best-selling Boxed Set, Boxers and Saints

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

It’s a tradition during residencies at the Spalding School of Creative and Professional Writing to regularly rotate and provide common instruction in one of the genres we teach: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, or writing for TV, screen and stage. Though our students dive into deep practice in their chosen writing concentration, each also benefits from exploring other genres, learning what craft elements and techniques are unique but also shared between genres. It’s been gratifying over the years to see how these cross-genre forays have provided important epiphanies for writing students.

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Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character

By Beth Ann Bauman, Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children and Young Adults

One of my favorite TV shows is the HBO crime drama “The Night Of.”  It’s tough and gritty and co-written by the inimitable Richard Price.  I’m going to detour here and mention how at a New Yorker festival years back, I first met Price when he and another author gave talks about their writing. The first was affected and kept tinkling the ice in his glass in a soft, actorly way.  He was sort of full of it.  Price, on the other hand, bounded onto the stage when it was his turn, looking like he was wearing a pajama top.  He looked at us and said, “Hey, did you know there’s a really good bar across the street?”  Well, he had our attention.

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