Wilkes University Announces Partnership With Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony

by Web Services

The Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University is partnering with the Norman Mailer Center to bring the Mailer Writers Colony summer writing workshops to Wilkes University and serve as their permanent home. Named in honor of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author, workshops offered by the Norman Mailer Colony are taught by nationally recognized writers and editors, continuing the Wilkes tradition of bringing literary leaders to campus. 

“We are so pleased to grow our long-standing relationship with the Norman Mailer Center and continue our commitment to the liberal arts,” said University President Patrick F. Leahy. “This relationship is indicative of the unique educational experience students receive at Wilkes, which combines the opportunities of a large research university with the mentoring atmosphere of a small private college.” 

Noted film producer, director and author, Lawrence Schiller, founded the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony in 2008. Schiller, who collaborated with Mailer for more than 30 years, formed the center to preserve Mailer’s legacy of mentoring young writers. The summer colony was first held at the former Mailer home in Provincetown, MA. Several Wilkes faculty and board members were among those who taught in the summer colonies, including, J. Michael Lennon, Kaylie Jones, Bonnie Culver, Beverly Donofrio and Colum McCann. 

At Wilkes, the week long workshops will be offered in a variety of genres including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, publishing, and screenwriting. Nationally recognized faculty teaching this summer include: best-selling memoirist Beverly Donofrio; NPR’s Fresh Air book criticMaureen Corrigan; and New York Times-bestselling novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard. Additional faculty members will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Like the Norman Mailer Center, Wilkes University encourages and celebrates writers who challenge readers’ perspectives on the world around them,” said Schiller. “Together, Wilkes and the Center will promote writers as people of action, and seek to support those who are driven by an endless curiosity to make sense of the times in which they live.”

The author of more than 40 works, Mailer was one of the founding board members of the Wilkes creative writing program’s advisory board. Mailer died in 2007 at 84. Wilkes continues to support his legacy in a variety of ways:

  • The Norris Church Mailer Scholarship, established in honor of Mailer’s late wife, is awarded annually to students in the program who demonstrate talent, need and a commitment to serving the writing community.
  • The Norman Mailer Room in the E.S. Farley Library includes a collection of Mailer’s personal effects, including his dining room table, books he has published, and awards he has received.
  • J. Michael Lennon, faculty member and co-founder of the creative writing program, wrote the authorized biography of the late author, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2013.
  • Film producer Michael Mailer, son of Norman Mailer, is a faculty member in the program’s screenwriting genre.

“Bringing these workshops to Wilkes is a fitting honor to Norman, reflecting his ideas on how best to support writers at all levels. Connecting the Maslow creative writing program to these summer workshops celebrates Norman’s determination in discovering emerging voices,” said Bonnie Culver, Wilkes creative writing program director. “Norman was the first advisory board member to join the Wilkes creative writing program in 2003. His voice and spirit are part of how and why we offer these graduate programs.”

In addition to the workshops, the Norman Mailer Center offers grants, awards, fellowships and other activities that allow writers to express themselves while provoking discussion and calling for societal changes.

Workshop space is limited and admission is competitive. Wilkes will begin accepting applications in February. Writers seeking more information can call (570) 408-4534.

Founded in 2005, the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing has graduated nearly 500 students from 35 states and several foreign countries. Wilkes grants the master of arts and master of fine arts degrees in seven genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, documentary films and publishing. In the last decade, faculty, students and alumni of the program have published more than 100 novels, memoirs and nonfiction works, 50 plays, 30 chapbooks or poetry collections, produced more than 40 new films and hundreds of individuals poems, articles and short stories.

Notable alumni include Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the 2015 Man Booker Prize and has made the Top Ten and Book of the Year lists of such publications at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time and Newsweek; Scranton native Barbara J. Taylor, whose book Sing In The Morning, Cry At Night, was a Publishers Weekly 2014 summer reads pick; Taylor Polites, author of The Rebel Wife, a top 10 pick for O, the Oprah Magazine; and Morowa Yejide, whose novel Time Of The Locust was a 2012 finalist for the PEN Bellwether Award and long listed for the PEN Bingham Award.

For more information on the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing, please visit www.wilkes.edu/cw.

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