PITTSBURGH: The Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program will sponsor Dialogues: Writing in Divided Times on April 6 from 5:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Welker Room, James Laughlin Music Hall, on Chatham’s Shadyside campus. The event will feature readings and conversations with four authors, Li-Young Lee, Cornelius Eady, Danez Smith and Adriana E. Ramirez.
Writing in Divided Times will begin with readings and performance by Smith and Ramirez from 5:15-6 p.m., where books will be available for purchase. Following a 6-7:30 p.m. dinner on your own, readings by Lee and Eady will take place from 7:30-8:15 p.m. A panel discussion featuring all authors is scheduled from 8:15- 9 p.m., with book sales and a reception wrapping up the evening from 9-9:30 p.m. The writers will take questions that will address what poetry might accomplish in divided times, and how it might be used to navigate hostile environments, whether personal, cultural or political.
PITTSBURGH: Poet Gregory Orr and singer/songwriter Bruce Dalzell will be featured Friday, February 17, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. in Rea Coffeehouse, Chatham University. This project is supported in part by the Gray St. Germain Gideon fund. The reading and music series is free and open to the public.
Gray’s Skies is an annual reading and music series found in honor of Gray St. Germain Gideon, a musician, composer and creative thinker who died 2014 of a drug overdose. The series focuses on celebrating the works of writers, artists and musicians whose work uses the imagination to explore loss or personal struggle. The series is funded through the generosity of Melanie and Fred Brown, and Margaret and Tom Whitford, in collaboration with Chatham University’s MFA program.
PITTSBURGH: Chatham University has announced that it has been awarded a grant of $11,200 from Staunton Farm Foundation in support of the Maenad Fellowship, a new program within Words Without Walls, a creative partnership between the Chatham MFA Creative Writing Program, Allegheny County Jail, State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, and Sojourner House.
Beginning January 2017, the Maenad Fellowship will support women who are in recovery from substance abuse, including those who have graduated from Sojourner House, a residential treatment facility for addicted women and their children. The fellowship will encourage a continuing writing practice through a community of writers, and provide $500 Giant Eagle gift cards to each participant in 12-week writing workshops that will be held on the Chatham campus. Participants will craft a collection of their own writing, which Words Without Walls staff will help them design and share in a public reading of their work at the end of the 12-weeks.
PITTSBURGH: Award-winning author, Helen Macdonald will discuss her work and answer questions on Monday, January 30th, 2017, at 12:00 pm in the Mellon Living Room, Mellon Center, on Chatham University’s Shadyside Campus.
Helen Macdonald is an English writer, poet, and naturalist. She is best known as the author of H is for Hawk, the instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning book which describes the year Macdonald spent training a goshawk after her father’s death. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel’s temperament mirrors her own state of grief, and together raptor and human “discover the pain and beauty of being alive.” H is for Hawk has been called a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices. The book has received the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and Costa Book Award, has been translated into 25 languages, and is being developed into a movie by Game of Thrones star Lena Headey.
Macdonald writes for the New York Times Magazine and is filming a BBC/PBS documentary on hawks both wild and tame. Macdonald’s other books include Shaler’s Fish, and Falcon. She is an Affiliated Research Scholar at the University of Cambridge Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
GRANT TO FUND EXPANSION OF WORDS WITHOUT WALLS
PITTSBURGH: Chatham University announced today that it has been awarded a $50,000 Humanities Access “challenge” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to expand Words Without Walls, a creative partnership between the Chatham MFA Creative Writing Program, Allegheny County Jail, State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, and Sojourner House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for mothers and their children.
Chatham’s grant is among $16.3 million in funding approved by the NEH for 290 projects in 43 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico supporting a variety of humanities-based research and programs. The Humanities Access grant program provides grants to help enhance and support existing cultural programs for youth, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations. In order to receive the full amount, the institutions and organizations receiving this grant must match the NEH funds with the same amount of money raised from non-federal, third party donors. Donations to Words Without Walls in support of the matching grant can be made on Chatham’s online giving page.
PITTSBURGH: Joseph Bathanti will read on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 8:30 pm in Rea Coffee House at Chatham University as part of the Words Without Walls Reading Series. A book signing and reception will follow the reading. This project is supported in part by a grant from the A. W. Mellon Foundation. The reading is free and open to the public.
Joseph Bathanti was born in Pittsburgh, on July 20, 1953, and grew up in an Italian neighborhood called East Liberty. His father was a steelworker and his mother was a seamstress, both children of immigrants who arrived from Italy and France in the early 1900s. As a teenager Bathanti held a number of working class jobs: he was a hod carrier for a contractor, carrying bricks in a box on his shoulder; a busboy; a dishwasher; a truck driver for a flower shop; a stock boy and a roofer.
PITTSBURGH: Mark Nieson, associate professor in the MFA Creative Writing program recently published a memoir, Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape, which concerns the search for where identity, place, and heart intersect. The memoir opens with its Brooklyn-born narrator standing on his head outside an old one-room schoolhouse amid 500 acres of remote woodlands in Iowa, his new home. Why this Walden-like retreat? Is it to attend the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop, or is he actually on the lam from love?
Nieson will be giving a number of readings in the Pittsburgh area this fall, including one on the Chatham’s Shadyside campus on November 9 at 8 p.m. along with Jenny Ashburn, Alison Taverna & Dakota Garilli, three recent MFA graduates who also have books/chapbooks coming out.
PITTSBURGH: Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Writing will take place, October 22, 2016 starting at 9:00 a.m. in Mellon Board Room at Chatham University with programming until 6:00 p.m. With a $70 registration fee, participants pay for the full day conference, including the keynote by featured authors, three craft workshop or panel sessions, one ticket for “Speed Dating with Editors”, a choice of one of the four featured books, one subscription to a participating literary magazine, and (for those 21 or over) our world famous Boxed Wine Happy Hour.
This conference is organized by Barrelhouse Magazine and has been held for the past nine years in Washington DC, and the past two at Chatham University. All proceeds go to Barrelhouse and participating small presses and literary magazines. Please register online at www.writersconnectconference.com.