Chatham News

Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing program presents Words Without Walls
Black Writers Reading Series

The series is made possible by a grant from the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
November 16, 2011 

PITTSBURGH (November 16, 2011)…Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing program presents the Words Without Walls Black Writers Reading Series.  Funding for the project titled “From Prison to MFA and Back,” was provided by the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. The grant supports the visits of five black writers to Pittsburgh throughout the next several months. Each writer will present their work at the Allegheny County Jail to inmates studying creative writing through Chatham MFA in Creative Writing program’s Words Without Walls initiative; the writers will also present their work to the public.

The first writer in the series was Faith Adiele, who presented her work the first week of November during the MFA program’s Bridges to Other Worlds festival. Upcoming public readings are as follows:

December 2: Dwayne Betts
February 24: Tyehimba Jess
March 23: Tim Seibles
April 6: Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

All public readings will take place at 8 p.m. in Welker Auditorium in the James Laughlin Music Hall on Chatham’s Shadyside Campus.

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 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

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