Held each June, The Summer Writers Institute consists of two weeks of intensive writing workshops. Choose from fiction (popular or literary), poetry, or creative nonfiction. The two weeks include personal conferences, readings by guest faculty, craft talks, and panel discussions with writers and editors. Participants may attend on a non-credit basis or choose to earn three college credits.In the afternoons, accomplished writers and editors from Missouri and Illinois read from their work and discuss writing and publishing. The Faculty for the 2010 session includes:
Sally Van Doren will teach the 2010 Poetry Workshop. She received the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first collection of poems, Sex at Noon Taxes, which was published in spring of 2008 by Louisiana State University Press. Her poems appear recently in: American Poet, Barrow Street, Boulevard, 5AM, Margie, The New Republic, River Styx, Southwest Review and Verse Daily. Born and raised in St. Louis, Van Doren graduated from Princeton University and the Creative Writing Program of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has taught creative writing in the St. Louis Public Schools and curates the Sunday Poetry Workshops for the St. Louis Poetry Center.
Fiction Workshop instructor Rebecca Rasmussen is the author of the novel The Bird Sisters, forthcoming from Random House in Spring 2011. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, The Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. Recently she was named a finalist in the Glimmer Train short story contest as well as Narrative Magazine's 30 Below Contest for writers under the age of thirty, and was the recipient of the Toby Thompson Prize for excellence in nonfiction writing. She received her MFA in fiction from the Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and daughter, and teaches writing at Fontbonne University.
Mathew Smith, instructor for the 2010 Young Writers Institute, received his M.F.A. in fiction writing from Washington University. His novel The Asian Fetish was a finalist for the Parthenon Prize and received a Hopwood Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Southern Humanities Review. He was a Rackam Fellow at the University of Michigan where he taught poetry and fiction. He also taught creative writing in the Detroit Public Schools’ Poet-in-the-Schools program and the Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project. Before moving to St. Louis, he spent three years in China where he taught English at Shanghai International High School and Tongji University. He lives with his wife in University City and teaches at Washington University.
Kathleen Finneran will teach the 2010 Creative Nonfiction Workshop. She is the author of the memoir The Tender Land: A Family Love Story (Houghton Mifflin, 2000; Mariner Paperbacks, 2003) for which she won the Whiting Writer’s Award. Her essays have been published in various anthologies, including The Place That Holds Our History (Southwest Missouri State University Press, 1990), Seeking St. Louis: Voices from a River City (Missouri Historical Society Press, 2000), and The “M” Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage (Algonquin, 2004). She has received the Missouri Arts Council Writers’ Biennial Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship and has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony for the Arts and Cottages at Hedgebrook. She has taught writing at Gotham Writers Workshops, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University, and St. Louis Community College. She is currently at work on her second memoir, Motherhood Once Removed: On Being an Aunt.
Keynote Speaker Devin Johnston spent his early years in the Piedmont of North Carolina. He has lived in Chicago where he was poetry editor for Chicago Review. His third book of poetry, Sources, was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (TPP, 2008). He is the author of two previous books of poetry, Aversions and Telepathy. He currently lives in St. Louis, teaches at Saint Louis University, and directs Flood Editions, an independent publisher of poetry.
Traditionally, Institute participants finish up the two weeks with an open mike reading of their own work.