by Kathleen Driskell, Chair
Oh, how wonderful it will be to bring our writing community together on Spalding’s campus in Louisville this spring residency, May 21-28. Our faculty and staff have been busily planning enriching curriculum sessions and marvelous social events—remember those? Here are a few highlights to share with you.
As you know our featured area in common for spring is creative nonfiction. I hope you are enjoying reading our book in common, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl, our Distinguished Visiting Writer for this residency. We were pleased to hear that Renkl’s second book Graceland: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South was recently awarded the 2022 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvolgel Award for the Art of the Essay and the 2022 Southern Book Prize.
Renkl will visit residency Tuesday, May 24, but before her visit, our community will discuss Late Migrations on the first Saturday night we’re together. Be sure to make notes as you read and be prepared to contribute to this conversation. Just after our discussion, we’ll enjoy a community dinner at the Brown Hotel, our beautiful dormitory for students and faculty.
In addition to our guest Margaret Renkl, we’re delighted that screenwriter L ynn Grant Beck has agreed to visit as a guest workshop leader for our screenwriting students. Beck brings our students extensive and diverse experience in screenwriting and the filmmaking industry, and she has taught at Pepperdine University, Santa Monica College and is now teaching at ScreenwritersUniversity.com. Her rom-com, 12 Gifts of Christmas, aired on the Hallmark Channel and her thriller, My Mom is a Bank Robber, aired on the Lifetime Channel. Her other TV movies include Springbreak Nightmare, Quiet Night, Trapped and Cult of Lies. Her dramedy series, The House that Jackie Built, is currently out to streaming services, as well as a sci-fi series, Fuzion. She’s also written an action/disaster feature, BlackOut, as well as two animated family features, Sandra Claus and The TreasureD Cat. She was hired to write a TV pilot, Hashers, by Google VP, Jim Kolotouros, and her award-winning dark comedy feature, The Sign Painter, was optioned by the director John Rhode. Beck lives in Westlake Village, California. Learn more about Beck here.
Maurice Manning will also visit residency as a guest workshop leader in poetry. Manning has published seven books of poetry, including The Common Man, which was one of three finalists for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and most recently Railsplitter. His first collection, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has published in The New Yorker, The Southern Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He recently served as a judge for the 2022 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Manning teaches at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.
My cross-genre plenary “Truth and Beauty” will focus on creative nonfiction and require you to re-read Jo Ann Beard’s “The Fourth State of Matter,” which I’ve assigned before but now want to discuss in more depth with you. You’ll also need to read two short essays in preparation for my talk: Brent Staples’s “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s essay “Touch-Me-Nots” from her best-selling essay collection World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments. You can find links to these works on the Preparing for Spring 2022 Residency Page in the portal.
We’ll use “Touch-Me-Knots” as a model for the cross-genre exercise which will call for us to take an evening trip to Louisville’s Waterfront Botanical Gardens during residency. (Rain or shine so bring your umbrellas to residency.) After our visit to the gardens, students will have the option to be dropped off for an evening on your own in Nu-Lu a nearby neighborhood with lots of wonderful restaurants and galleries or you may come back to the hotel for the evening.
Do plan to be with us on Thursday, May 26, at 5:30 pm on the Rooftop Garden of the Brown Hotel for a community celebration of the twenty-year anniversary of the Spalding MFA program and the renaming of our school, made possible by a $1,000,000 gift to our School of Writing from alumna Cindy Brady. We also give thanks to poet, visual artist, and Spalding alumna Nana Lampton who has given us a gift to throw a wonderful party.
Our Spalding School of Writing faculty workshop leaders for spring include Angela Jackson-Brown, Fiction; Wiley Cash, Fiction; Keith S. Wilson, Poetry; Roy Hoffman, Creative Nonfiction; Beth Bauman, Writing for Children and Young Adults; Charlie Schulman, Playwriting; Elaine Orr, Teaching Seminar. Remember on Sunday, May 1 you have two virtual sessions you are required to attend in preparation for residency: from 2-3 pm ET, you’ll meet with your workshop leader and workshop student-colleagues for an introductory workshop session; from 3-4 pm ET you’ll join the faculty book in common session for a discussion of a text in your residency workshop area.
Lynnell Edwards will facilitate our Creative Writing Community Workshop which we offer occasionally as an opportunity for writers in Greater Louisville, and beyond, to come get a taste of our residency and also sit in a 3-day mixed genre workshop. If you have writer friends who have always wondered about our graduate writing programs, please let them know about this opportunity. More details are forthcoming on the Good River Review blog.
Spalding faculty members Silas House, Jason Kyle Howard, Leah Henderson, Larry Brenner, and Bruce Romans will drop into the residency to give lectures. Alumni Lia Eastep, Graham Shelby, and Andie Becker will also lead sessions.
Likely, you saw a spalding.edu email announcement from Spalding’s President McClure that informs that our Academic Council has lifted the university’s mandatory mask mandate; however, our School of Writing will continue to require every student, faculty member, guest, or alum participating in our residency to provide proof of full vaccination no later than May 7, which is two weeks before residency. May 21. If you haven’t already uploaded your proof of vaccination card, please check the portal page for information on how to do so.
Do keep checking the Preparing for Spring Residency page in the portal for added information about lectures and events we’ll feature this May. And remember, your Residency Curriculum and Events Schedule is released until the Monday before residency in order to provide you with the most accurate document we can.
Happy preparation for Spring 2022 residency at Spalding! The faculty and staff look forward to welcoming you back to campus soon.
Kathleen Driskell, Chair of Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing and Professor of Creative Writing, is an award-winning poet and essayist. She is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Next Door to the Dead, winner of the Judy Gaines Young Book Award (University Press of Kentucky), and Blue Etiquette (Red Hen Press). New poems are forthcoming from Carnegie-Mellon Press in 2023. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.