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Welcome back home! Highlights of the Spring 2023 Residency at Spalding

Brian Hamptom (PW ’06) presents the Distinguished Alumni Lecture in Writing for TV, Screen and Stage

by Kathleen Driskell, Chair

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing, I’m delighted to share highlights of the marvelous, enriching sessions we have scheduled for our students, alumni, and faculty during the Spring 2023 residency, May 27 – June 3 on Spalding’s campus in Louisville. The Lecture Descriptions are posted in the portal, but here’s more exciting news about special features of our upcoming residency.

During residency, all can look forward to in-depth instruction in your major concentration area—so as always, expect meaningful workshops and lectures presented by faculty and visiting guests. In addition, though, it’s my pleasure to highlight our cross-genre area for spring: Writing for TV, Screen, and Stage. I hope you’ve been enjoying our script in common, Cost of Living, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, written by our Distinguished Visiting Writer Martyna Majok.

The first evening of residency, we’ll come together for a community discussion on Cost of Living—be sure to have read the play and prepared comments to share before you arrive. Later in the residency, Majok visits to talk about and read from her work. The next morning, she’ll have a Q & A with students and faculty, one of my favorite regular sessions of residency. You can learn more about Martyna Majok and her award-winning play in my earlier post, found here.

This spring, I’m very much looking forward to sharing my cross-genre plenary lecture “Varieties of Dramatic Tension”—which looks at conventional tension-building devices used by playwrights and screenwriters, but also valuable for writers of prose and poetry when understood well.

To prepare for this lecture, we’ll come together for dinner and to view The Night of the Hunter, the only film directed by Charles Laughton. To this day, I believe it’s one of the most uniquely imaginative films I’ve ever seen, and I will discuss its elements of dramatic tension with you during my plenary lecture the next day. At the conclusion of the lecture, I’ll give the cross-genre assignment, which we’ll share with each other on the last day of residency. More about that later.

Our interrelatedness-of-the-arts event takes us to a production of the ever-popular play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by Kentucky Shakespeare in Central Park, a 10- to 15-minute walk from campus. Be prepared to sit outdoors under the stars for this performance—and come early, if you’d like, to enjoy dinner from the food trucks and drinks from Will’s Tavern and to soak up a bit of theatrical history. Entering its 63rd season, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park is the longest-running free, non-ticketed Shakespeare festival in the United States.Learn more about Kentucky Shakespeare here.

On the day of the play, we welcome guest Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare, who visits residency to give a talk about the company and the directing vision for his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I also look forward to hearing screenwriting faculty member Bruce Marshall Romans give his literary exploration lecture “Golden Age of American Cinema,” in which he discusses films from 1967 on, including Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Cool Hand Luke, In the Heat of the Night, and The Graduate.

Later in residency, Jeremy Gold, Producing President of Blumhouse Productions, will visit to talk with the Writing for TV, Screen, and Stage students about his work as producer of Sharp Objects, The Thing about Pam, Hell on Wheels, and more. Of course, all are welcome to this talk.

As always, workshop is the backbone of residency, and we’re pleased that this spring, Susan Campbell Bartoletti will be leading the writing for children and young adults workshop. Bartoletti taught for Spalding’s MFA program for many years until her retirement, and we’re delighted she’s coming back to teach. Among her awards is a Newberry Honor; Bartoletti has published many admired books for children, most recently How Women Won the Vote. She co-edited with Marc Aronson 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, & Change. To learn more about Bartoletti’s many books and honors, visit her website here.

Other Naslund-Mann faculty workshop leaders include Roy Hoffman, Nancy McCabe, and John Pipkin, all in fiction; Douglas Manuel in poetry; Dianne Aprile in CNF; Gabriel Jason Dean in playwriting, and Larry Brenner in screenwriting. Faculty member Elaine Neil Orr will lead the teaching seminar. Faculty members Erin Keane and Jason Kyle Howard will drop into residency to present lectures.

Guest lecturers for spring include (from left to right below) Danni Quintos in poetry, and Brittany J. Thurman and Olivia A. Cole in writing for children and young adults.

And we very much look forward to celebrating our soon-to-be graduates during the Graduation Lecture Symposium and their graduation readings.

We also celebrate Brian Hampton (PW ’06), who will present our Distinguished MFA Alumni Lecture in Writing for TV, Screen, and Stage. Hampton’s lecture “ ‘As If!’: Writing About—and for—Teenagers,” in which he shares his craft knowledge of and love for teen movies. We are grateful to the Snowy Owl Foundation for their generous gift, which supports the 2022-2023 Distinguished MFA Alumni Lecture Series.

At the end of the week, we’ll welcome alums participating in Homecoming. Those alumni will present readings from their recently published and produced works and also attend various events while back at Spalding. We know everyone will be excited to say “Welcome Home” to them.

As we have in the recent past, we require students, faculty, and alumni to be fully vaccinated before attending residency. Find more information about those requirements in the Thursday Memo. Students, faculty, and alumni are, of course, welcome to wear masks at all events. Though we, at this point, aren’t requiring everyone to mask, all students, alumni, and faculty should be prepared to mask at residency if Covid infection rates climb and university masking requirements change in order to create a safe learning space for all at residency.

I do look forward to welcoming you all home to Spalding soon.


Kathleen Driskell is chair of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University. She’s the author of five full-length collections of poetry including Blue Etiquette, a finalist for the Weatherford Award; Next Door to the Dead, winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award; and Seed Across Snow, a Poetry Foundation national bestseller. The Vine Temple, a recent chapbook, was published in the Cox Family Series at Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in many magazines including The New Yorker, Rattle, Shenandoah, Southern Review, and Appalachian Review and have been featured in anthologies and online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She served as chair of the Board of Directors of AWP from 2019-2022.


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