Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing Summer Residency Sessions Open to the Public

Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing Summer Residency Sessions Open to the Public

6/23/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Summer Residency Program will be held July 16-29 and will feature afternoon craft talks and evening readings on the AU campus. These sessions will be free and open to the public thanks to support from the Ohio Arts Council. All events will be held in Room 138 of the Schar College of Education building near the corner of College Boulevard and Samaritan Avenue.

This year’s featured visiting writers include J. Allyn Rosser in poetry, Steve Almond in fiction and Gretel Ehrlich in creative nonfiction.

Rosser teaches at Ohio University where she edits New Ohio Review. She is the author of four poetry collections and her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Smithsonian Magazine, Slate and four editions of Best American Poetry. Rosser reads on Wednesday, July 21, at 7 p.m. and presents her craft talk on Thursday, July 21, at 1 p.m.

Almond is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction. His short stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories. Almond’s reading is Monday, July 25, at 7 p.m. and his craft seminar is Tuesday, July 26, at 1 p.m.

Ehrlich, a celebrated naturalist and writer, will read on Tuesday, July 26, at 7 p.m. and present a craft talk on Wednesday, July 27, at 1 p.m. Ehrlich is the author of numerous books including The Solace of Open Spaces and most recently Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami, which won the Kirkus Best Book of the Year Award for 2013. She has traveled extensively in the Arctic areas of the world and elsewhere and has had her work published in HarpersThe AtlanticThe New York Times MagazineTimeLifeNational Geographic, and several anthologies. 

Other highlights of the sessions include:
-- On Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to noon, visiting writers will present a panel titled "Work and the Life of Literature" about balancing writing with career, family and other responsibilities. 
-- On Sunday, July 24, Cleveland area storyteller Dana Norris and Detroit poet M.L. Liebler will discuss "Stage Presence: The Art of a Good Reading" at 10:30 a.m. Later that day, at 1 p.m., Ashland MFA alumni Jan Shoemaker (2014) and Grace Curtis (2010) will discuss “The Emerging Writer: Paths to Your First Publications.”

This year’s Summer Residency also will be an opportunity to say goodbye to Dr. Stephen Haven, who has served as MFA director since the program’s first residency in 2007. Haven, who has accepted a position as director of Lesley University MFA Program in Cambridge, Mass., will give his final reading at AU on Wednesday evening, July 27, at 7 p.m. 

On Friday, July 22, MFA faculty members Alex Lemon and Tom Larson will present a craft seminar in Haven’s honor, titled “The Poetry of Stephen Haven: A Retrospective.”

Ashland’s MFA program added fiction as a third genre in 2015 and this year’s graduating class will include its first fiction student. The other 17 students graduating this summer studied creative nofiction or poetry. One student also studied the art of translating literature. Students in the MFA Program work toward the completion of a manuscript in their chosen genre, which serves as their thesis project. Graduating students will read from their work on Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Additional readings and presentations by MFA faculty and visiting writers are scheduled throughout the two-week event. For more information, visit:

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###