Chatham News

Fundraiser for Words Without Walls to feature readings on the theme of society’s “Outsiders”

PITTSBURGH (April 2, 2013) … Are you an outsider? With a nod to “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton, Chatham University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program will host a public fundraiser on Friday, April 12, for Words Without Walls that will feature readings on the theme of society’s outsiders. Words Without Walls is a creative partnership between Chatham creative writing graduate students and the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ). Students from Chatham teach creative writing courses to male and female inmates at ACJ, organize readings of their work, facilitate community workshops after their release, and publish their work in an annual anthology. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. at Braddock’s Unsmoke Systems Artspace, located at 1137 Braddock Ave. Admission is $20 ($10 for students).

At the fundraiser, local writers Sheryl St. Germain, director of the MFA in Creative Writing program; Heather McNaugher, and Lo Williams will give readings alongside two former Words Without Walls students Stephan Hayes, recent inmate who is finishing his first play for fall production, and Ashley Petty, a Words Without Walls student-poet. The evening will also feature entertainment by DJ Fernando Hammer, a silent auction, a drawathon, poetry for $1 on vintage typewriters, and wood-fired pizza from the Braddock community oven.

Words Without Walls inspired the launch of a similar partnership that the MFA in Creative Writing program leads at Sojourner House, a nonprofit dedicated to providing faith-based addiction treatment for mothers and their children to help break the intergenerational cycle of addiction. The new program Make Mine Words: Writing Your Way to Recovery helps to acquaint residents with the spiritual healing that can be experienced through writing.

Find out more about our program at

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, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region. With enrollment of more than 2,300 students and consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and co-educational graduate and online programs, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, health and lab sciences, creative and liberal arts, and business and entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

For more information, call 412-365-1139 or visit