WRITER: REED SMITH
CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 2, 2001
UI Writers' Workshop writer presents 'Cultivating Creative
Writing' project in Waterloo
IOWA CITY, Iowa --
Bret Johnston, a University of Iowa Writers Workshop fiction writer,
presented a creative writing/fiction workshop Friday, Feb. 23 at East High
School in Waterloo, launching the schools participation in "Cultivating
Creative Writing: An Iowa Tradition" a UI Arts Share project involving
Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell and prominent fiction writer Chris Offutt.
The workshop begins a series of activities designed
to raise awareness about one of the State of Iowas cultural gems, creative
writing, and its impact on 20th-century American Literature. The project asks
students to explore Iowas unique artistic contributions and opportunities.
The UI Writers Workshop is the worlds oldest
and most influential creative writing degree program, which has helped the
UI and Iowa City gain an international reputation as a Mecca for writers,
and has made the name "Iowa" synonymous with writing around the
The educational component will take place in seven high
schools in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and West Liberty, and will be completed
by June 30.
In preparation for the project, students will read
books by graduates and faculty of the Writers Workshop, which will introduce
its history and a variety of its distinguished writers. The literature includes:
Frank Conroys "Stop Time," Chris Offutts "Kentucky
Straight," Marvin Bells "Poetry of a Midsummers
Night," Tracy Kidders "Among Schoolchildren," and Robert
Danas "A Community of Writers: Paul Engle and the Iowa Writers
In the second phase students will participate in a long-term
residency with a current Writers Workshop student. During the residencies
students will be asked to work through revisions and rough drafts of poetry
and fiction, and to participate in the presentation of the completed product.
The final component includes a lecture/reading by Marvin
Bell and Chris Offutt.
Bret Johnston will continue his residency at East
High School with a visit scheduled on
In his first year as an Arts Share artist, Johnston
has conducted workshops and readings for high school students. He holds a
masters degree in fiction writing from Miami University. His fiction
and nonfiction have appeared in magazines including Glamour, Mid-American
Shenandoah and The Crescent Review. His short stories
have been anthologized in "Scribners Best of the Fiction Workshops
1999" and "Patterns of Exposition."
"Cultivating Creative Writing -- an Iowa Tradition,"
was made possible by a grant from Iowa Arts Council Access to the Arts. Funds
provided by the Alliant Energy Foundation will supplement the Iowa Arts Council
To find out more about the upcoming events of the project,
contact Diane Kenney Handler at the Arts Share office (319) 335-1618.
The UI Arts Share program provides artistic resources
from the Iowa Center for the Arts to schools and community organizations.
The 2000-2001 Arts Share roster includes more than 70 faculty and graduate
students in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing.
For more information about the Arts Share program, call
director Diane Kenney Handler at (319) 335-1618 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A free Arts Share program guide including artist roster
is available at the Arts Share office, 2077 Voxman Music Building, the University
of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.
For UI arts information, visit this new address--- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
---on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact Deborahemail@example.com.