Chatham News

Words Without Walls reading and launch

Bringing voices from the inside, out

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
July 26, 2011

PITTSBURGH (July 26, 2011) … On Saturday, August 6, 2011, Chatham University’s creative outreach program, Words Without Walls, will hold a special event to celebrate its year of success. The event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Mellon Board Room at Chatham University. The night will include featured readers from the community, inmate writing, artwork from the Allegheny County Jail, and the launching of two annual publications—as well as a new website.

Featured readers have been attending a community workshop, run by Words Without Walls, where diverse voices come together to inspire and workshop new and old writing. Other readers will read work on behalf of those currently enrolled in the Words Without Walls classes. An open mic period will follow.

Two annual chapbooks—a chapbook of work from the winner of the 2011 Sandra Gould-Ford Award and a chapbook anthology of inmate work from 2011—will be displayed and sold. Proceeds benefit the program.

About Words Without Walls
Words Without Walls, a creative collaboration between Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing program and the Allegheny County Jail. It fosters and supports creative expression and personal growth by exposing men and women at the jail to literature, award-winning visiting authors, and the opportunity to publish their work. Words Without Walls has been teaching creative writing classes at Allegheny County Jail since June 2010. Because of its innovative approach to learning and teaching, Words Without Walls received support from the A. W. Mellon Education and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

About the MFA in Creative Writing
Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing allows students to focus on tracks in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and writing for children, while encouraging them to explore two tracks simultaneously. Students take innovative field seminars that include travel to such places as Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, and Germany. In 2007 Poets & Writers named the MFA one of “Nine Distinctive Programs” and The Atlantic Monthly named it one of five innovative/unique programs in the country in its “Best of the Best” graduate program listings. In 2009, The Writer named it one of ten programs that offer a specialty focus. Chatham University also offers an undergraduate BFA in Creative Writing, an online Master of Professional Writing, and a low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. For more information, visit or contact Sheryl St.Germain at

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit