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Millsaps to Host Creative Writing Workshop Featuring Pulitzer Prize Winner Robert Olen Butler


Creative writers and teachers of creative writing will gather at Millsaps College on February 21 and 22 for "Workshopping the Workshop: A Roundtable on Creative Writing Pedagogy."

Robert Olen Butler, recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, and Tyrone Jaeger, author of the hybrid novel The Runaway Note, will read from their respective works at 7 p.m. on February 21 in room 215 of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex. The reading is free and open to the public.


Robert Olen Butler


The reading will kick off the day-and-a-half-long event, which will also feature readings by poet Alan Michael Parker of Davidson College and essayist and poet Sheryl St. Germain of Chatham University on February 22 at 12:30 p.m. in room 215 of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex at Millsaps College. The reading is also free and open to the public.

The workshop is supported by a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South, a consortium of 16 distinguished liberal arts colleges and universities located in the South, and the Mellon Foundation.


Tyrone Jaeger


 Dr. Keith Dunn, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, said the support of the Mellon Foundation will strengthen and enhance the educational possibilities for future writers and their professors.

"Millsaps College is an appropriate location for the workshop as our small, intimate community provides the ideal environment for developing the next generation of creative writing," he said. "We are currently developing apprenticeships for aspiring writers, which will be another example of the mentoring that our faculty provide for our students."


Alan Michael Parker


Dr. Steve Kistulentz, assistant professor of English at Millsaps College, and Jaeger, assistant professor of English at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., are co-directors of the workshop.

The workshop will allow participants to focus on best practices in creative writing programs and discuss innovative ways to broaden their programs so they reach a larger audience. "As the interest in the creative writing major grows, we're looking for ways in which we can best serve students within our current framework, as well as anticipate what a creative writing major might look like 10-30 years from now," Kistulentz said.


Sheryl St. Germain


In 1971, only four institutions offered to undergraduates creative writing as a major, he said. Millsaps College is now among nearly 200 institutions with a creative writing major.

"A secondary goal is to look outward as institutions and share how each institution has managed to craft a curriculum that underscores the traditional relationship between reading literature and producing literature; we need to recognize that as an area of pedagogy, creative writing is very young and fluid," Kistulentz said. "We'll talk about how smaller institutions can serve the needs of students who might be interested in screen writing, writing for graphic novels and other genres."

Kistulentz and Jaeger plan to produce a white paper about information shared during the workshop panels and hope to present it at the Modern Language Association or the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.