Tag Archive for Shapiro Creative Writing Center

Bloom ’75, Sawhney Explore the Elm City’s Underbelly in New Haven Noir

New Haven Noir, edited by Amy BloomA star-studded cast of contributors curated by Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing Amy Bloom ’75 fill the pages of New Haven Noir, featuring original stories from Michael Cunningham, Stephen Carter, Roxana Robinson, Assistant Professor of English Hirsh Sawhney and many others. The book is the latest addition to an award-winning series of original noir anthologies published by Akashic Books, founded by publisher and editor-in-chief Johnny Temple ’88.

“I’m a big fan of noir,” says Bloom, editor of the anthology, which has garnered praise from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. “When Johnny called me and said, I don’t know if you’re from New Haven, but I know you’re connected to New Haven and I’d love you to edit the anthology, I jumped at the opportunity,” she said.

Bloom worked with Temple to select contributors for the anthology, with Bloom choosing to invite several writer friends who hadn’t written noir before, including Alice Mattison and Michael Cunningham. “I told them, it’s conflict and it’s mystery. Bleak. Snappy outfits. Great dialogue,” Bloom said. “And they said, count us in.”

In addition to serving as editor of the anthology, Bloom also is a contributor. Her story, “I’ve Never Been to Paris,” set in New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood, is actually an excerpt from a mystery she wrote years ago, tailored specifically for New Haven Noir.

Wesleyan Launches First-Ever Creative Writing Specialization on Coursera

Wesleyan's creative writing specialization is open to anyone with a love of reading or a drive to invent a story or tell their own.

Wesleyan’s creative writing specialization on Coursera provides an opportunity to learn from some of the country’s best contemporary writers.

Wesleyan will present the first-ever creative writing specialization on the Coursera platform, beginning Feb. 9. Taught by four award-winning authors, the specialization is open to anyone with a love of reading or a drive to invent a story or tell their own.

Titled “Creative Writing: The Craft of Story,” the specialization will include four courses, plus a capstone. The courses are:

The first MOOC launches Feb. 9, with subsequent courses starting every week after that.

Screenwriters Lounge Supports Student Filmmaking on Campus

Members of the Wesleyan Film Project’s Screenwriters Lounge gathered at the Shapiro Creative Writing Center’s library Feb. 16 to discuss current projects. The Wesleyan Film Project is a student-run group that formed during the fall semester 2014 and supports filmmaking on campus. During Screenwriter’s Lounge sessions the students meet with each other, writers, directors and producers to review student-submitted scripts in order to prepare them for production.

For more information on the group, visit the Wesleyan Film Project on Facebook.

Photos of the Screenwriters Lounge gathering are below: (Photos by John Van Vlack)

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Bloom Co-Hosts NYT Magazine‘s “Ethicists” Podcast

Amy Bloom '75

Amy Bloom ’75

Novelist Amy Bloom ’75, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence, director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is co-hosting a new weekly podcast titled “Ethicists.”

The podcast, a re-imagination of the New York Times Magazine’s longtime “The Ethicist” column, features Bloom and two other ethicists answering questions for a half-hour.

NYT Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Wesleyan alumnus Jake Silverstein ’98 invited Bloom to participate in the show. The other panelists are Politico media columnist Jack Shafer and New York School of Law constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino.

The first episode, titled “Close Quarters: Can I ask my neighbors to quiet their baby?” debuted Feb. 18 and is produced in partnership with Slate. Read an edited and condensed version of the podcast online here.

“Future topics will be, we hope, a wide range of ethical quandaries,” Bloom said.

Read more about the podcast launch in this Poynter.org article or download the podcast through iTunes.

Author, Poet C.D. Wright to Teach 3 Master Classes at Shapiro Center

Author and poet C.D. Wright will teach three masters classes this fall. On Oct. 14, she will hold a poetry reading and book signing event in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. (Photo courtesy of © Miriam Berkley/ Blue Flower Arts)

Author and poet C.D. Wright will teach three masters classes this fall. On Oct. 14, she will hold a poetry reading and book signing event in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. (Photo courtesy of © Miriam Berkley/ Blue Flower Arts)

This semester, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center is hosting three master classes taught by award-winning author and poet C.D. Wright. Master classes are open to all poetry-writing upperclassmen free of charge. Each class will last 2.5 hours and include one dinner. The classes will meet Sept. 23, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, and the deadline to apply is Sept. 12.

Wright is currently the I.J. Kapstein Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University where she teaches advanced poetry.

Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published over a dozen books, including Rising, Falling, Hovering, Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems, and a text edition of One Big Self: An Investigation, focused on Louisiana inmates. She has published several book-length poems including Deepstep Come Shining and Just Whistle.

She also has composed and published two state literary maps, one for Arkansas, her native state, and one for Rhode Island, her adopted state. Wright is formerly the State Poet of Rhode Island, and with poet Forrest Gander, she edited Lost Roads Publishers for more than 20 years.

Wright is winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in March 2011 for her most recent title, One With Others: [a little book of her days], which was also a finalist for the National Book Award and was selected as winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her honors include awards from the Wallace Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts as well as the Lannan Literary Award. In 2004 Wright was named a MacArthur Fellow; in 2005 she was given the Robert Creeley Award, and elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Rising, Falling, Hovering won the International Griffin Poetry Prize.

Amy Bloom ’75, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence and director of the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, emphasized that the key merit of the masters program is the opportunity to work with a professional writer.

“The motivation [behind the program] was to bring some of America’s best poets to Wesleyan and to give the students the opportunity to work with them,” Bloom said. “[Wright is an] outstanding, articulate American poet with a passion for poetry and teaching. It’s not just she’s professional, it’s that she’s so gifted.”

The classes are capped at a dozen participants, all selected by Bloom and Wright based on a submitted cover letter. Bloom stated that the limit is designed to keep the classes intimate and to ensure that all students have the opportunity to work closely with Wright.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Hudes Joins Faculty

Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway musical In the Heights, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical.

Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway musical In the Heights, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical.

Quiara Alegría Hudes, a Pulitzer Prize recipient, will be the new Shapiro Distinguished Professor of Writing and Theater for three years beginning in the fall of 2014. The appointment marks a return to campus for Hudes, who taught as a visiting playwright in 2012.

Hudes’s most recent publication is The Elliot Cycle, three standalone plays written over an eight-year period. Each play uses a different kind of music – Bach, Coltrane, and Puerto Rican folk music¬ ¬– to trace the coming of age of a haunted young man from Puerto Rico. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, the first play, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Water by the Spoonful won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and The Happiest Song Plays Last, the third play, is about to open Off-Broadway in New York on February 11 at Second Stage Theatre.

“What a thrill to bring all I’ve learned about process, storytelling, and structure to the next generation of young writers,” Hudes said. “There is a palpable curiosity among the Wesleyan student body, along with a willingness to do the hard work that marries creativity and craft. I’m honored and only slightly giddy with the possibilities.”

She also wrote the book for the Broadway musical In the Heights, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical; it was also a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Hudes’s honors include the United States Artists Fontanals Fellowship, the Joyce Fellowship at the Goodman Theatre, the Aetna New Voices Fellowship at Hartford Stage, the Roe Green Award at the Cleveland Playhouse, and fellowships at Sundance Theater Institute and the O’Neill Theater Center.

Poet/Memoirist, Novelist/Screenwriter to Lead Writing Workshops for Students

For young writers, the prospect of getting their work in front of a master (whether a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a prominent poet or a famous byline) can be both exciting and terrifying.

Student scribes at Wesleyan will have that opportunity this academic year as two masters of the craft come to campus to conduct a series of noncredit workshops at the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. Poet and memoirist Mark Doty and novelist and screenwriter Michael Cunningham will each do a series of three, two-and-a-half-hour master classes for about a dozen students. Doty’s up first in the fall semester and Cunningham will be on campus in the spring.

“They’re both exceptional writers, and this is a great opportunity for students,” said Amy Bloom ’75, director of the Shapiro Writing Center. “Having your work read and getting that type of direction is absolutely critical (for those learning the craft).”

Bloom to Direct the Shapiro Creative Writing Center

Amy Bloom '75

Amy Bloom ’75

Amy Bloom, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer in Residence, will become the director of the Shapiro Creative Writing Center for two years, beginning July 1.

She is author of two novels, four collections of short stories, a non-fiction book, and a children’s book; winner of the National Magazine Award in fiction; and a past nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent novel, Lucky Us, will be released by Random House in early 2014. She received a bachelor of arts from Wesleyan in 1975 and master of social work from Smith College.

The Shapiro Creative Writing Center serves as a hub for writing activities and provides a venue for workshops, colloquia, informal discussions, student events and receptions. Its lounge is open to all students enrolled in creative writing courses.

At the center, Bloom holds Table Talk events every Thursday during the fall and spring semesters, and Word Game night every Wednesday, open to all students.

Gift from Shapiro ’74, Silverberg ’76 Will Support Writing Programs

John Shapiro ’74 and Shonni Silverberg ’76

A $3 million gift to support writing programs at Wesleyan was announced March 1 at the Board of Trustees dinner on campus.

The gift from John Shapiro ’74 and Shonni Silverberg ’76, a Wesleyan trustee, builds on their 2009 gift establishing the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.  Shapiro said he was delighted with the speed with which the center was developed.

“We were gratified that the university moved quickly and got this program launched and established,” Shapiro said. “I’ve had good feedback from people both at Wesleyan and elsewhere. It has generated’ a bit of a buzz.”

This new gift will enable the expansion of faculty,  the visiting writers program and courses, among other things.

Shapiro and Silverberg have funded the Shapiro Silverberg Endowed Chair in Creative Writing, as well as the Gittel and Mervin Silverberg Visiting Scholar in Jewish Studies and the Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies, and have given many other gifts to fund scholarships.