Announcing the Full Line-up of Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, Nov. 16-22

Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, takes place Saturday, November 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer. Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Continue reading “Announcing the Full Line-up of Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, Nov. 16-22”

A Cornucopia of Riches for Our Spalding Writing Community: Fall 2019 Residency Overview

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing

Here’s something I’ve learned. Nearly everybody thinks they have a picture book in them. Another thing I’ve learned? To underestimate the expertise needed to write a good picture book is foolish. At Spalding’s Fall 2019 SCPW residency in Louisville, we’ll give our writers a chance to explore picture book practice during our cross-genre venture into Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Continue reading “A Cornucopia of Riches for Our Spalding Writing Community: Fall 2019 Residency Overview”

Multiple Perspectives: To Use or Not

By Beth Ann Bauman, Writing for Children & Young Adults Faculty

Maybe it’s just me, but the use of multiple perspectives in middle-grade and YA fiction seems to have swelled in the last decade. And it’s understandable why this is an appealing choice for a writer. It’s fun to head hop, use different voices, and create a broader understanding of the world. When done well, it makes for a satisfying, compelling read, such as in the young-adult novel Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a WWII story that follows four narrators seeking passage on a ship to escape a Soviet advance. The shifting perspectives provide a wide lens on this historical event while keeping a strong narrative focus. But handling multiple perspectives is tricky and complicated, and a book can easily lose its narrative unity.  Before attempting, here are some considerations:   

Continue reading “Multiple Perspectives: To Use or Not”

The Fall 2019 Residency Book in Common Is Actually Two Books: Gene Luen Yang’s Best-selling Boxed Set, Boxers and Saints

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing

It’s a tradition during residencies at the Spalding School of Creative and Professional Writing to regularly rotate and provide common instruction in one of the genres we teach: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, or writing for TV, screen and stage. Though our students dive into deep practice in their chosen writing concentration, each also benefits from exploring other genres, learning what craft elements and techniques are unique but also shared between genres. It’s been gratifying over the years to see how these cross-genre forays have provided important epiphanies for writing students.

Continue reading “The Fall 2019 Residency Book in Common Is Actually Two Books: Gene Luen Yang’s Best-selling Boxed Set, Boxers and Saints”

Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character

By Beth Ann Bauman, Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children and Young Adults

One of my favorite TV shows is the HBO crime drama “The Night Of.”  It’s tough and gritty and co-written by the inimitable Richard Price.  I’m going to detour here and mention how at a New Yorker festival years back, I first met Price when he and another author gave talks about their writing. The first was affected and kept tinkling the ice in his glass in a soft, actorly way.  He was sort of full of it.  Price, on the other hand, bounded onto the stage when it was his turn, looking like he was wearing a pajama top.  He looked at us and said, “Hey, did you know there’s a really good bar across the street?”  Well, he had our attention.

Continue reading “Thorns Will Be Necessary: The Appeal of the Flawed Character”

Inspiration from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

By Karen Mann, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Administrative Director

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When I refer to SCBWI, I’m usually asked, “What’s that?” It’s an acronym all writers should know. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international professional organization that supports the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world. Its members are writers and illustrators of preschool through young adult books, as well as librarians, educators, artists, students, dramatists, musicians, filmmakers—anyone with an active interest in children’s literature or media. Continue reading “Inspiration from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators”

My Enrichment Semester, or How I Escaped My Comfort Zone and Finally Found Work-Life Balance

By Marjetta Geerling, Spalding MFA Alumni (W4CYA ’11)

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Marjetta Geerling

When I graduated from the Spalding MFA program in 2011, I knew at some point I’d be back for an enrichment semester. It’s no secret how much I love the Spalding program, and the enrichment semester provides the opportunity to do a post-graduate semester, an experience I definitely wanted but wasn’t sure how I’d squeeze into my teaching life. Continue reading “My Enrichment Semester, or How I Escaped My Comfort Zone and Finally Found Work-Life Balance”

Music and the Quickening of Story

By Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Faculty (Writing for Children & Young Adults)

Susan 2015

Recently, I was sitting with a group of women writers, and the conversation turned to music concerts.

“What was the first concert you went to?” asked one of the women. Around the table, various artists and band names were tossed out and the women oohed and ahhed: Aerosmith. Guns ‘N Roses. Bruce Springsteen. Even some oldies: the Beach Boys. Neil Diamond. James Taylor. Joni Mitchell. Carole King.

My first concert? Continue reading “Music and the Quickening of Story”