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).”
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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.
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.
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Composer Nicholas Stoia has written three songs based on poems by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing, associate professor of English.
Stoia performed the songs at the Monadnock Music Festival July 15, 16 and 18 in New Hampshire.
Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing, has a group of poems published in the current issue of BOMB.
Amy Bloom '75, appointed as the Kim-Frank Family University Writer in Residence, read from her latest book, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, April 13 in New York City at "A Conversation with Amy Bloom '75 and President Michael Roth '78." The event was sponsored by the Wesleyan Club of New York and the Wesleyan Writing Programs. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)
Amy Bloom ’75, a distinguished writer of novels, short stories, nonfiction, and projects for television, has been named the Kim-Frank Family University Writer in Residence at Wesleyan University. Her appointment takes effect July 1.
Bloom will have an office in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.
Bloom will enhance Wesleyan’s curricular offerings in writing by offering two courses per year, and she will serve as a senior thesis advisor. She will have an office in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.
“Amy Bloom is one of the most accomplished writers in the United States today,” says President Michael S. Roth. “Her insight, her creativity, and her deep understanding of the craft of writing will be a great benefit to our students. The writing community at Wesleyan is prolific and strong, and Amy Bloom’s presence will add to that vitality.”
Bloom is the author of two novels, three collections of short stories, and a nonfiction book. She has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad.
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