Chatham News

Chatham University to host Words Without Walls reading and reception on Aug. 5

PITTSBURGH (July 25, 2012)… Chatham University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program will host a free public reading and book signing by graduates and instructors of the Words Without Walls prison writing program, a collaboration between Chatham and the Allegheny County Jail. William Arrington, John Nau, and Eric Boyd will be among the program’s graduates who will give readings that evening; others will read works on behalf of those currently enrolled in the Words Without Walls classes. Writers who attended Chatham’s community writing workshop Voice CATCH will also give readings at the event, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 in the Mellon Board Room, Shadyside Campus. A reception will follow.

Books that will be available for purchase at the event include the 2012 and 2011 Words Without Walls anthologies, respectively titled “The Thing With Feathers” and “Look Here;” “Flying Squirrel and Other Stories” by Lynne Agnew, winner of the 2011 Sandra Gould-Ford Prize and second-place winner of the Prison Writing Award; “Whiskey Sour” by Eric Boyd, who took second place in the 2011 PEN Prison Writing Awards.

About Words Without Walls
Words Without Walls is 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 grew from a residency program started by artist Sandra Gould Ford. Because of the program’s reach, Chatham University committed to continuing the program’s creative writing classes at Allegheny County Jail in June 2010. Because of its innovative approach to learning and teaching, Words Without Walls has received support from the A. W. Mellon Education and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, a partnership of The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.

About Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing program
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 January 2012, The Writer named it one of the “4 top schools you should consider” and in 2009, 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

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