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Week of Writing 2015

Screenwriting’s Future in a Shifting Media Landscape, May 12

As traditional media outlets – such as network television and Hollywood movie studios – attempt to grapple with ever-shifting alternate distribution opportunities and models, the panel addresses what challenges these shifts represent for content generation.  In the face of ever-increasing demand for story content, what changes do screenwriters confront?  What skillset will the next generation of screenwriters need to successfully navigate a career path?

Four Editors and a Paragraph, May 13

Apart from differences in content, the writing across newspapers, magazines and books tends to be consistent in style and mechanics because of the professional editing it receives. Thus the outcomes from the work of multiple editors on the same document will be fairly consistent. Or will they? Watch the editors on this panel as they describe and justify their edited versions of the same text. These editors will be blinded to the identity of the author of what they edit, but they will be told how deeply to edit, what house style to use, what the word count needs to be, and who the intended audience is.

The Art of the Description, May 13

“It sounds like a simple thing, to say what you see,” writes Mark Doty in Chapter One of The Art of Description, “but try to find words for the shades of a mottled sassafras leaf..” Description, long the backbone of good writing seems to have taken a back seat in post-modern writing where the emphasis is more and more on mental constructs of reality and less on the sensory. From fields ranging from science to poetry, this panel will examine the role of description in written text.

Diversity Gap in Children’s Literature, May 14

“The Diversity Gap in Children’s and Young Adult Literature” is inspired in large part by Walter Dean Myers’s and Christopher Myers’s New York Times op-eds in March 2014, which called for change in the disproportionately low publication rates of books by and about people of color. The UWisconsin Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s annual study demonstrates a consistent lack of diversity over nearly two decades of American children’s literature, which in turn suggests the systemic whitewashing of children’s experiences as well as of their representation in literature. We hope that by opening discussion of why diverse authors and characters matter, we will encourage constructive agitation on the part of young readers, writers, and teachers to demand and produce more books that represent the layered, messy, and wonderful complexity of racial and cultural diversity in 21st-century America.

Iconic Literature as Reimagined in Popular Culture, May 14

What drives the current need to re-imagine great works in new forms—whether as contemporary novels (think Zadie Smith’s On Beauty using E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End or my own contemporary adaptations of Jane Austen), in movies and TV (film and TV series based on Austen, Dickens, Trollope, James et al), or the internet (the Youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries).  Why does the 19th century novel seem to lend itself so readily to adaptation? What influence do these adaptations have on the culture and the status of great literature? Do they replace the literature, dumb it down, lead people back to it? What is lost and what is gained through these popular adaptations? (Rather than employ a traditional moderator, this panel will be steered by the panelists’ conversation with each other.)

New Opportunities for Writers in the Digital Age, May 14

Rather than bemoan the idea that “the book is dead,” this panel seeks to celebrate the new opportunities digital communication brings to us. The art speaks, not the canvas: changes in medium and technique let us say new things, and let the audience see old things in new way, which is how art impacts us. We’ll discuss how to be heard, and how to be heard above the cacophony.

Developing Your Voice/This I Believe, May 15

Do the words “personal statement” scare the heck out of you? Are you at a loss for words when you can’t rely on research (the words of others)? Do you panic when you try to figure out what “your voice” is on the page? This session will help you wrap your mind around all of these issues.

 Week of Writing 2014

Marathon Reading, May 12

Fred Siegel, Scott Stein, Allison McNally, Craig Laird, Steven Goff, Jen Jolles, Kathleen Volk Miller, Jason Ludwig, Taylor Bush and Gaia Faigon read their poems and stories. The students that read are winners from the WoW Writing Contests.

Marathon Reading, May 13

Lynn Levin, Liz Pollack, Joe Esposito, Stacey Ake, Harriet Levin Millan, Julia Timko, Marilyn Piety and Cassandra Hirsch read their poems and stories. The students that read are winners from the WoW Writing Contests.

Write Like Crazy, May 13

Join us for an honest look at the connections between mental health, societal stigma and writing with Jennifer Schwartz, Director of the Drexel Psychological Services Center. Evan Rosko discusses his take on adolescent self-therapy in his book Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, while Liz Spikol shares the story behind her autobiographical newspaper column, “The Trouble With Spikol,” which ran for a decade.

Mentoring Young Writers in Philadelphia, May 14

Various directors of local programs speak about how their programs help children express themselves through writing. Panelists include Annette John-Hall, program director at MW West, Rachel Loeper, Mighty Writers’ interim development director, and Tara Smith, a professional editor, Program Director for PS Books and editorial board member of Philadelphia Stories Jr.

Writing Lyrics: Survivors’ Guide, May 14

Get into the heads of two music industry pros. Despite her age, Dragon Lucy Stone has already made a name for herself as a rising indie pop star, opening for acts like B.o.B and Major Lazer. John Faye, whose many honors include opening for The Ramones, has been writing and performing since 1994. Kicking off the discussion is Professor Cyrille Taillandier, who–in addition to his infectious enthusiasm–has engineering experience in studios across the U.S. and France.

I’ll Have the Footlong, Hold the Smut: Writing About Sex, May 14

Panelists talk about the differences between erotica and literary sex scenes, share their thoughts about sex scenes and their criteria for writing sex scenes, and then they take on the audience to answer questions. Panelists include Ras Mashramani who writes about internet growing pains, shame, sex, and alien insemination, Lisa Zeidner with her most recently acclaimed novel Love Bomb, and Anthony DeCurtis, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a distinguished lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Pennsylvania

Write on the Side, May 15

Have you given up your dreams of finding time to write? Get some inspiration from these successful panelists: three doctors and a mathematician. This discussion explores creative writing’s appeal for professionals in the STEM field, as well as how they balance their careers and creative goals. You’ll even hear from Drexel’s John Clarke, a renown surgeon who writes science fiction for children! (How cool is that?)

Urban Poetry from Saturnalia Poets, May 15

Saturnalia poets read a selection of their poetry and discuss their reasons for writing about their topics. Readers include Sarah Blake, author of Mr. West, an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West, Jason Zuzga who is completing a PhD at University of Pennsylvania on media and ecology, and Sebastian Agudelo, whose first book, To the Bone, won the 2008 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize selected by Mark Doty.

Storytelling in Unexpected Places, May 15

Panelists discuss how they use storytelling in their jobs as researchers, creators of public diplomacy and visual trends. The panelists for this discussion includes Dan Arp, who conducts public diplomacy and outreach for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Ben Warfield, scientific researcher of the Light Research Program of Thomas Jefferson University, and Pam Grossman, director of visual trends at Getty Images.

Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am! May 16

Have some fun at Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am, Drexel’s interactive story slam! Audience members help our zany (but lovable) English professors pick words and phrases to become prompts—in turn, fueling their own writing. Watch this creative show-down as students compete for Swag Bag prizes and approval from hosts “Fresh” Fred Siegel, “DJ Jazzy” Gail Rosen and “LL Cool Kathy” Volk Miller.

Co-op and Internship Opportunities in Writing and Editing, May 16

Co-op opportunities for humanities students are growing. Learn about four unique Philly-area ventures and get insider tips about entering the publishing world. Panelists include our own Kathleen Volk Miller (of Painted Bride Quarterly literary magazine, Drexel Publishing Group), Professor Henry Israeli (of Saturnalia Books, a haven for poets), Sharlene Goldfischer (of the Musehouse literary arts center), and Lillian Dunn (Executive Editor of Apiary, a lit mag she started right out of college–take note!).

Maya, Drexel’s underground Lit Mag, Celebration, May 16

Did you know that Drexel has an undergrad literary magazine? That’s right! Student-run since 1962, Maya brings together a diverse group that shares a passion for culture. Check out these readings from the 2014 issue–Editor-in-Chief Amanda Kraft might convince you to submit your own fiction, poetry, nonfiction or artwork. You can also read the issue here.


 Week of Writing 2013

Pitfall! What Writers and Video Game Designers Need to Know About Each Other, May 20

This panel talks about action and writing, and how stories are incorporated into games. They also discuss games such as “Minecraft” and how implicit storytelling is a part of the design process so that one can include others as well as their own stories into the game. Panelists include Christopher Grant, William Stallwood, Nicole Kline and Amanda Lange.

The Brick Through the Window: Writing into Controversial Issues, May 21

Panelists include Seamus McGraw, Robert Kane and Monica Yant Kinney. They talk about writing about controversial issues that are not considered acceptable in society. These writers jeopardize both their lives and the lives of their subjects because of the sensitivity of the topics they discuss. Issues include fracking, urban policing and accountability and racism.

When Readers and Editors Attack! How to Stand Up For What You Write, May 21

How to defend your writing especially since a lot of writing is accessible to people online who are free to comment. The panel discusses how to engage readers and editors constructively to get your words through to get published. Panelists include Liz Spikol, Joel Mathis, Janine White and Vicki Glembocki.

Journey and Coming of Age in the Fiction of Nathan Leslie, May 22

This discussion focuses on the books by author Nathan Leslie such as The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice, Drivers and more. He reads chapters from his books and gives writing tips and advice. He also talks about writing to get published.

Strange and Familiar Places in Young Adult Fiction, May 22

Young adult fiction is discussed in terms of the “places” they are set up in – time (19th century, Renaissance, etc.), country, etc. The creative process of books is also discussed along with the research that goes behind them. Also – what motivates these writers to write their genre of stories. Panelists include authors Beth Kephart, Eliot Schrefer and Rita Williams-Garcia.

What is all the (Y)AWping About? May 23

This panel talks about the AWP conference and they answer the question of why is it worthwhile to visit the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. The AWP is a home for discussing writing, poetry, literary presses, book fairs and literary panels.

Flavor Profiles and Food Porn: Why We Just Can’t Get Enough, May 23

A food writing panel discusses food writing and compares virtual and hardcopies of cookbooks and their credibility. It also talks about life of a food journalist – the travel, the food and all that jazz. Panelists include Art Etchells, Michael Klein and Marisa McClellan.


 Week of Writing 2012

Philosophy as/and Literature, May 21

Led by Dr. Peter Amato, director of the Drexel Philosophy Department, this expert panel discussion addresses the many ways in which philosophy and literature intersect. Panelists include Peter L. Hagen, Dr. Rodger Jackson and Melanie McLeod.

Writing for Social Change, May 22

Can a pen (or keyboard) change the world? Find the answer in this robust panel discussion led by the Director of the Freshman Writing Program, Rebecca Engels. Panelists include Greg Corbin, Barbara Laker, Tara Murtha, Tim Whitaker and Wendy Ruderman.

Philadelphia Writing Scene, May 23

Learn about the people, publications and events for writers in the Philadelphia area. From poetry to magazine publishing, every facet of writing is represented by this robust panel. Panelists include Carla  J. Spataro, Christian TeBordo, Leonard Gontarek and Lillian Dunn.

How to Create Next Great (Blank), May 23

The next great what? Whether you want to start a literary magazine, arts organization, or community education initiative, this panel will give you some ideas to get started and succeed. Panelists include Kathy Sheeder Bonanno, Lillian Dunn and Todd Zuniga.

Performing Memoir, May 24

Panel meets performance in this humorous look at what makes a good memoir and how to portray it live. Talented panelists not only answer audience questions but also show off some work of their own. Panelists include Bonnie MacAllister, Eric Thomas and Jamie J. Brunson.

Social Media and the Representation of the Self, May 24

Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “God has given you one face and you make yourselves another.” Was he talking about Denmark’s corrupt court or the current generation’s obsession with social media? This discussion explores the many faces we give ourselves online.

The Intoxicating Allure of Drinks Writing, May 24

No, not those spirits! These writers discuss how to write about wine, spirits and beer in such a way to intrigue any reader. This intoxicating panel is compromised of experienced food and drink writers such as David Wondrich, Lew Bryson, and Amy Zavatto. Enjoy and write responsibly.

Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am! May 25

Fred Siegel, English professor, emcees this poetry and literature slam. Listen to what Drexel’s brightest (and bravest) minds can come up with on the spot.

English Department Award Ceremony, May 25 

Drexel has some amazing writers. Watch their work be recognized by CoAS faculty for their achievements in writing.


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