Chatham University

A gathering of full- and low-residency Chatham MFA students, local writers, and nationally-known faculty at Chatham University’s beautiful and sustainable Eden Hall Campus.

July 19-29, 2018
Eden Hall Campus

The Summer Community of Writers brings together an eclectic mix of low- and full-residency MFA students, local writers, and faculty for a 10-day experience that features daily workshops, dynamic craft lectures, faculty and student readings, and field trips to local points of interest. MFA students earn six course credits with attendance, and community members gain the chance to connect with Pittsburgh’s vibrant writing community.

Sample Day Schedule

7:30am ▶ Breakfast in dining hall
9:00am ▶ Workshop
12:00pm ▶ Lunch in dining hall
1:30pm ▶ Craft lecture
2:30pm ▶ Open for writing and conferences
5:00pm ▶ Dinner service begins in dining hall
6:00pm ▶ Dessert and cocktail hour @ EHC Lodge
7:30pm ▶ Faculty Reading @ EBC

"Probably one of the only times in my life that someone allows me to have two hours every day to just write."

Writing in the Rain
Eden Hall Barn
Talk during Summer Community of Writers

Summer Community of Writers is an integral part of your time at Chatham. This six-credit course is mandatory for completion of your degree, and offers a chance for full- and low-residency students to connect, network, and collaborate.

Student Workshops

You will participate in eight three-hour workshops in your genre of choice every morning under the guidance of our expert and accomplished faculty. In groups of no more than twelve, you will generate drafts, follow prompts, deeply consider your own and each other's work. For full-res Chatham MFA students, SCW is often the perfect bridge between the first and second year, and a space for them to keep their thesis-writing momentum going. For anyone, workshops provide concentrated, personalized attention on your writing in a community of like-minded word-lovers.

Lectures & Conversations

Most afternoons, you will attend a conversation or lecture led by one of our faculty members or guests on some relevant aspect of writing craft or writing life. We work to make these talks applicable to any writer in any genre. For instance, you might learn about the lyric impulse in poetry and prose, or how to expertly handle exposition. Or, you might learn from local editors, agents and publishers about the journal or press submission process, or about how to start a creative writing outreach program like Words Without Walls.

"There is this writing community here that doesn't really exist anywhere else."

Reconnect with your work while enjoying the lush setting and collegiate atmosphere of our Eden Hall Campus. Summer Community of Writers serves as a resource to Pittsburgh writers and MFA alumni seeking an affordable, engaging writer’s retreat in a unique setting.

Community members can:

  • stay at Eden Hall or commute
  • sign up for a 4-day or 10-day program
  • attend craft lectures and publishing talks
  • participate in readings and social gatherings


Reading on Barn Stage



Group discussion at Summer Community of Writers


Nature Walk at Eden Hall Campus

Reading in the Barazzone Center

"My relationships with people I already knew have definitely been strengthened, and I made new friendships with people I wouldn't normally have met."

See who will be leading SCW this year:


Katie Fallon

Katie Fallon is the author of the nonfiction books Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (UPNE, 2017) and Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird (Ruka Press, 2011), which was a Finalist for the Reed Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment. Katie is also the co-author of two books for children, Look, See the Bird! (2017) and Look, See the Farm! (forthcoming 2018), both from Hatherleigh Press. She is currently Guest Faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she teaches Nonfiction in the Low-Residency MFA Program.

Derek Green

Derek Green is the author of New World Order, a collection of linked stories set in various locations around the globe. He has also published nonfiction on subjects ranging from industrial farming and trauma surgery to national politics and the international war on terror. As a screenwriter, he has written for Warner Bros. and Carousel Productions, and has co-created, written, and presented television projects at many major studios. Derek travels widely as a speaker and has delivered seminars, workshops, and presentations in twenty-two countries on six continents. A member of the Writers Guild of America East and The PEN American Center, he recently completed a novel about the rise of an armed Midwestern militia and a second collection of stories. He lives in Connecticut and teaches at Yale.

Phillip Metres

Philip Metres is the author of Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), Sand Opera (2015), I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky (2015), To See the Earth (2008), and others. His work has garnered a Lannan fellowship, two NEAs, the Hunt Prize, Arts & Letters, two Arab American Book Awards, the Cleveland Arts Prize and a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant. He is professor of English at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

Paul Hertneky

Paul Hertneky has written stories, essays, and scripts for The Boston Globe, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, NBC News, The Comedy Channel, Gourmet, Eating Well, Bon Appetit, Traveler's Tales, The Exquisite Corpse, NPR, Public Radio International, Adbusters, and many more for more than twenty-five years. Serving in foodservice in the U.S. and Europe as a cook, bartender, waiter, winemaker, and journalist covering the US Culinary Olympic Team, he has won a Solas Award for travel writing and two James Beard Award nominations. His memoir, RUST BELT BOY: Stories of an American Childhood (Bauhan 2016), takes a deep dive into the food of his youth. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he serves on the faculty of Chatham University and lives in Hancock, New Hampshire.

Sherrie Flick

Sherrie Flick is a fiction writer, food writer, and freelance writer and copy editor living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her book publications include the flash fiction chapbook I Call This Flirting, Reconsidering Happiness: A Novel, and the short story collection Whiskey, Etc. (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2016.) Her food writing appears in The Wall Street Journal, Ploughshares, Pittsburgh Quarterly and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as the anthology Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food.

Publishing Professionals


Cameron Barnett

Cameron Barnett

Cameron Barnett holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was poetry editor for Hot Metal Bridge Literary Magazine. He teaches middle school at Falk Laboratory School, and is an associate poetry editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review. His first collection, The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water (Autumn House Press) was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Danielle Chiotti

Danielle Chiotti

Danielle Chiotti has worked in publishing for sixteen years. Formerly an editor, she joined Upstart Crow when it was founded in 2009, specializing in young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as cookbooks, select nonfiction, and literary and upmarket fiction for adults. She enjoys working closely with authors to develop projects and welcomes first-time authors with a unique voice and point of view.

Ben Gwin

Ben Gwin

Ben Gwin is the author of the novel, Clean Time: The True Story of Ronald Reagan Middleton (Burrow Press). Ben’s fiction has appeared in Gulf Stream, 45th Parallel, The Normal School, and others. His work has been anthologized in Voices of the Rust Belt (Picador) and the Pittsburgh Anthology (Belt Publishing).

Sarah Cadence Hamm

Sarah Cadence Hamm

Sarah Cadence Hamm earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University, with a concentration in Fiction and Travel Writing. Her work has appeared in Coal Hill Review and IDK Magazine. When she's not writing, baking, or podcasting, she works as the Social Media Manager for Chatham.

Karen Lillis

Karen Lillis

Karen Lillis is a writer and bookseller. She has been a clerk at St Mark's Bookshop, a writer in residence at Shakespeare & Company-Paris, a sidewalk bookseller, a small press blogger, and a rare book photographer. Karen’s Book Row features feminist fiction, LGBT Lit, and counterculture reads.

Robert Peluso

Robert Peluso

Robert Peluso has contributed numerous interviews, literary features, and book reviews for print, radio, and online forums. His fiction has won the Caliban Book Shop-Pittsburgh Quarterly Review Prize (Hilary Masters, judge), been selected by The Fourth River as one of the best stories of the past ten years, and was long-listed for LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction. Recent fiction has appeared in Modern Language Studies, Burrow Press Review, and Big Muddy. Peluso holds a PhD from Columbia University, where he was also awarded a President's Fellowship. He is co-founder and editor of Braddock Avenue Books.

Sam Pittman

Sam Pittman

Sam Pittman's writing has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, West Wind Review, Newfound, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. He teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh, bakes a mean tomato cobbler, and mixes an even meaner Manhattan. Follow Sam on Instagram @xpoetaster.

Sheryl St. Germain

Sheryl St. Germain

Sheryl St. Germain's new poetry collection, The Small Door of Your Death, was published in Spring 2018 with Autumn House Press. A collection of essays, Fifty Miles, is forthcoming with Etruscan Press in Fall of 2019. A native of New Orleans, Sheryl has taught creative writing at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College, and Iowa State University. Her work has received several awards, including two NEA Fellowships, an NEH Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay. She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. She is the co-founder and director of the Words Without Walls Program.

Shelia Squillante

Sheila Squillante

Sheila Squillante is the author of the poetry collection, Beautiful Nerve (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and three chapbooks of poetry: In This Dream of My Father (Seven Kitchens, 2014), Women Who Pawn Their Jewelry (Finishing Line, 2012) and A Woman Traces the Shoreline (Dancing Girl, 2011). She is also co-author, along with Sandra L. Faulkner, of the writing craft book, Writing the Personal: Getting Your Stories Onto the Page (Sense Publishers, 2015). Recent work has appeared or will appear in places like North Dakota Quarterly, Indiana Review, Waxwing, Menacing Hedge and River Teeth. She teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Chatham University, where she edits The Fourth River, a journal of nature and place-based writing. From her dining room table, she edits the blog at Barrelhouse. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband, Paul Bilger, a philosopher and experimental photographer, and their children.

Christine Stroud

Christine Stroud

Christine Stroud is the author of two chapbooks, Sister Suite and The Buried Return. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Prairie SchoonerHobartCimarron ReviewThe Patterson Literary Review, and others. Stroud is the editor in chief of Autumn House Press.

Siobhan Vivian

Siobhan Vivian

Siobhan Vivian is the New York Times best-selling author of Stay Sweet, as well as The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List. She attended The University of the Arts, where she graduated with a degree in Writing for Film and Television, and received her MFA in Creative Writing: Children's Literature from The New School University. A former editor and screenwriter, she currently teaches creative writing at The University of Pittsburgh.

Creative Nonfiction logo

Creative Nonfiction magazine is true stories, well told. Each issue demonstrates the depth and versatility of narrative nonfiction and proves that smart, engaging narratives can make any subject fascinating and meaningful. Recent issues have tackled themes ranging from dangerous creations to science & religion, and from adaptation to how we teach.

10-Day Workshops

Creative Nonfiction w/ Katie Fallon

This workshop course will explore the exciting and diverse genre of creative nonfiction. Each student will have an essay workshopped by the class and the instructor, and we will work on in-class writing exercises designed to help you generate new essays. Additionally, we will read and discuss examples of contemporary nonfiction from recent Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies. We will also discuss (and attempt to answer) questions about publishing your creative nonfiction: Where should you submit your work? What about contests? What about publishing a book? Each student will be asked to informally introduce the class to a literary journal.

Fiction w/ Derek Green

This workshop is designed for writers of all levels who are interested in demystifying the process of writing and publishing dramatic narrative fictio . To do this, we approach the creation of a short story, a collection of stories, or a novel as a series of manageable steps—a process—that any writer can master.

Poetry w/ Philip Metres

C.D. Wright once wrote that "Some of us do not read or write particularly for pleasure or instruction, but to be changed, healed, charged." This workshop proceeds from the idea that poetry is an invitation to transformation (Rilke: "you must change your life."). It will introduce traditional lyric modes and forms (the ode, elegy, sonnet, pantoum) alongside some more recent experimental modes (erasure, documentary poetics) with the goal of writing a poetry that listens to the margins of our society and our souls, offering comfort for the afflicted and affliction for the comfortable.

4-Day Workshops

Open senses, open road, open mind: Writing the intersection of food & travel w/ Paul Hertneky

July 20-23
Scarce or abundant, pungent, putrid, or perfect, food brings us in touch with the world. Whether we cross the street or a continent, our encounters with farms and markets, cooking and eating on the road change our minds and shape our lives. In this workshop, we will explore the literature, the language, the rich ingredients and recipes for writing that arrests readers and hijacks them into unfamiliar lands and new sensory territory, scenes that make their mouths water and their imaginations dance through the night.


Flash Fiction: Compression & Comprehension w/ Sherrie Flick

July 25-28
This four-day workshop goes deep into tiny stories. We'll read, write, revise, and discuss all manner of compressed worlds in order to understand the importance of brevity in our own work and to gain further insight the significance of flash fiction in contemporary literature. Plan to write many new stories using prompts, props, and the natural world around you as inspiration.

Eden Hall Campus isn't just sustainable: it’s beautiful. Nestled in the rolling hills of Gibsonia, just 20 miles from Pittsburgh, Eden Hall offers plenty of inspiration for nature and place-based writing with hiking trails, gardens, farm-fresh food and more.

Nature Walk at Eden Hall Campus

Tents set up at Eden Hall Campus

Eden Hall Farm Barn Exterior

Amenities for those staying at Eden Hall Campus during SCW include: 

  • The option to camp outdoors or stay in the award-winning sustainable Orchard Hall Residence Hall
  • Access to the Eden Hall pool, hiking trails, bowling alley and scenic grounds
  • Shuttle service to and from Pittsburgh
  • Optional dining packages at Eden Hall’s dining hall, offering organic, locally-sourced food with vegetarian, vegan and some specialized dietary options.

Dining Hall Prices:

  • Breakfast: $8.00
  • Lunch: $9.50
  • Dinner: $10.50

Barazzone Center Dining

"Beautiful place! A much needed oasis."


SCW fulfills English 710 in the MFA course list. Full-residency students must take it once during their program of study; low-residency students must take it twice.

  Tuition Room Board Total
MFA Student Residency $5,418 $250 $250 $5,918


Community Members & Chatham MFA Alumni

Flexible registration allows you to choose the program that best suits your needs.

  Tuition Room
Session A: Food & Travel (July 20-23) $300 $100 $112 $512
Alumni discount $240 $100 $112 $452
Session B: Flash Fiction (July 25-28) $300 $100 $112 $512
Alumni discount $240 $100 $112 $452
Sessions A+B $600 $225 $252 $1,077
Alumni discount $480 $225 $252 $957

Registration for the 2018 Summer Community of Writers is now closed.


Note: a $100 non-refundable deposit will be due at registration. Workshop availability is contingent upon enrollment.


For-credit and non-credit options available. ACT 48 available for-credit only.


For more information or registration questions, e-mail Kelly Kepner at or call (412) 365-1685. For alumni discount, please contact Kelly Kepner.

Photo credit: Brittany Hailer; Sheila Squillante; Rachel Kaufman; Karen Smith Linehan; Juliana Farrington; Dakota Lueck; Melissa DiGiovannantonio.