Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing – the state’s largest fall-spring reading series – will take place in a virtual format Tuesday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Nov. 20, featuring readings by faculty of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kevin Willmott will make a special appearance on Thursday, Nov. 19 to accept the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature.

All readings will take place virtually and are free and open to the public, but you must register separately for each event in order to receive the link to attend. The complete schedule of the festival, which is held in conjunction with the School of Writing’s fall residency, is listed below, and each session has a unique registration link.

Register here to attend Willmott’s presentation and prize ceremony, which will occur 5:30-6:45 p.m. Nov. 19.

The Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature was established to honor exceptional literary works that exemplify Spalding University’s mission. The $7,500 prize will be awarded to Willmott for his body of work in November during his virtual visit to the School of Writing, home of the nationally distinguished low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program.

Willmott, who in 2019 shared the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, is also Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas and has spent his filmmaking career taking on the subject of racism in America. He is a frequent collaborator with Spike Lee, most recently on the critically acclaimed Vietnam film Da 5 Bloods. Willmott’s other films include the mockumentary CSA: The Confederate States of America (which he wrote and directed) and Chi-Raq, a retelling of Lysistrata in a violence-wracked neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side (which he co-wrote with Lee). The film critic Richard Brody called Willmott’s work “brilliantly imagined fictions.”

“Kevin Willmott is an extraordinary screenwriter and teacher,” said Kathleen Driskell, Chair of the School of Creative and Professional Writing. “BlacKkKlansman, which he wrote with Spike Lee and others, is the kind of work we aim to recognize with our Spalding Prize and bring to our students’ attention. BlacKkKlansman is courageous, unflinching, and beautifully written. Like his earlier work, it’s a relevant social commentary on our times.”

In 2019, the year Willmott won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay with co-writers Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, and Charlie Wachtel, the film was nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The screenplay was adapted from Black Klansman, Ron Stallworth’s memoir detailing his work as the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, during which he infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan of Colorado Springs. BlacKkKlansman premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. The American Film Institute named it one of the top films of 2018.

Willmott has visited the Spalding MFA program twice before, most recently to talk about Chi-Raq. Prior to Willmott’s visit, all School of Writing students and faculty will read and discuss the screenplay for BlacKkKlansman and will view that film as well as Da 5 Bloods, Destination Planet Negro!, and CSA: Confederate States of America.

SCHOOL OF CREATIVE AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING

 

FALL 2020 SPALDING FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY WRITING (VIRTUAL READING SCHEDULE WITH REGISTRATION LINKS)

7:30 – 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, November 10. Faculty Reading. Register: https://forms.gle/rcNYgyVWbpwq3QcV8

  • Rachel Harper (fiction), This Side of Providence
  • Fenton Johnson (creative nonfiction, fiction), At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, The Man Who Loved Birds
  • Lesléa Newman (writing for children and young adults), Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story
  • Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify
  • Larry Brenner (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Growing Up Dead, Saving Throw Versus Love
  • Lynnell Edwards (poetry), This Great Green Valley

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Saturday, November 14. Faculty Reading. Register: https://forms.gle/a7A8eZYbhdfz5TUWA

  • Leslie Daniels (fiction), Cleaning Nabokov’s House
  • Greg Pape (poetry), Four Swans: Poems
  • Jacinda Townsend (fiction), Saint Monkey
  • Roy Hoffman (fiction, creative nonfiction), Come Landfall, Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations
  • Erin Keane (professional writing, poetry), Demolition of the Promised Land
  • Sam Zalutsky (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Seaside (Now streaming on Amazon, iTunes, VUDU, and elsewhere)

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, November 17. Faculty Reading. Register: https://forms.gle/WxGtjhYSQy2UTN1t8

  • Kirby Gann (fiction), Ghosting
  • Jeanie Thompson (poetry), The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller
  • Keith S. Wilson (poetry), Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love
  • Edie Hemingway (writing for children and young adults), Road to Tater Hill
  • Eric Schmiedl (playwriting), Browns Rules
  • Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), The Eye is Not Enough: On Seeing and Remembering

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, November 19. Faculty Reading. Register: https://forms.gle/gtUHgDJ4jB2uNuXe7

  • Nancy McCabe (creative nonfiction, fiction), Can This Marriage Be Saved?, Following Disasters
  • Jeremy Paden (translation), Under the Ocelot Sun
  • Gabriel Dean (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Terminus, Qualities of Starlight
  • Silas House (fiction), Southernmost
  • Beth Ann Bauman (writing for children & young adults), Jersey Angel

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, November 19. Spalding Prize winner Kevin Willmott. Register: https://forms.gle/C45gD6M1Qwvd3ZLb8

  • Kevin Willmott, Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Credits include BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America. Willmott will be awarded the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature for his body of work.

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday, Nov. 20. Faculty Reading. Registration: https://forms.gle/RGjoiR4f8ADcBxBg6

  • John Pipkin (fiction), The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter
  • Rebecca Walker (creative nonfiction, fiction), Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, Adé: A Love Story
  • Robin Lippincott (fiction, creative nonfiction), Our Arcadia, Blue Territory
  • Kira Obolensky (playwriting), Hiding in the Open
  • Charlie Schulman (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Goldstein: A Musical About Family
  • Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: Facebook.com/SpaldingSchoolofWriting. For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email schoolofwriting@spalding.edu. ‘

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Charles Maynard, Associate Professor of undergraduate writing in the School of Liberal Studies (faculty bios here) and Director of the Spalding Writing Center. Professor Maynard is a novelist and writer/creator of role-playing games and card games who is also on the graduate faculty of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like the small class sizes and the opportunity to gravitate to areas where I have strengths, and have people be accepting of that.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I teach first-year writing, and I run the Writing Center on campus. So my areas of expertise are academic writing and professional writing, and my degrees are in creative writing. So my areas of expertise are all types of writing.

LEARN MORE | Overview of the School of Liberal Studies
OTHER LIBERAL STUDIES FACULTY Q&As | Minda Reves, Chris Kolb, Dorina Parmenter, Deonte Hollowell
LEARN MORE | Overview of the School of Creative and Professional Writing
ESSAY BY PROFESSOR MAYNARD | “Emulate and Play: A Look at Role-Playing Games and Inspiration”

Why is liberal studies a good option for new students to consider as their major? 

Liberal studies acts as a foundational element in the life of a learner and creative person. I think it’s important to have that foundation because it supports all of those other things that are built upon it. Liberal studies is focused on finding connections between the past and future and why the past influences the future, looking at historical context, art, literature, diversity and how things shift and evolve over time. I think it’s important for young people to make those connections so that they can see that things were not always like this. How can I take in all that information and synthesize it to recreate the world so that I can make it a better place? I think this degree prepares them with practical elements like learning to write, synthesize thoughts, make connections and apply it to their passions. I think it’s important to realize passion and what drives students, and the faculty in liberal studies tries to focus on that for their students.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

My wife gave me these glow-in-the-dark stars to put on the wall, and I put them up there. And then I got a desk in my office. I do not know who had the desk before me, but there was a dried banana in the back and it was desiccated and wrinkled, so I put poster gum on the wall and stuck the dried banana to the wall so it would look like the moon with the stars. I made a sign that said organic moon, and then the banana fell behind the cabinet and I couldn’t move it, so the sign is still hanging up and the banana is somewhere in my office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with a student in the Writing Center or classroom and see them have major obstacles and then see them start to figure out ways to problem-solve and overcome those obstacles. Once they overcome those obstacles and have that eureka moment, (you can) watch them start to gain some confidence and then watch that evolve as they move through academia and their college experience and then graduate. I like to see that level of accomplishment, that level of confidence and that they succeeded based off the goals they set for themselves.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I hope they see that I am able to give them the tools to problem-solve, enhance their creativity, expand their desire to know and understand the world around them and themselves. These are positive tools. And I am doing this with some awareness of my place in the world and the lens I see the world through and myself through, so I am changing around them as well. I hope I am equipping them to be more conscious and aware human beings in their interactions with themselves and the world around them. It’s the little pieces or building blocks that multiple instructors, support units and conversations serve to build, so the student can reflect on it to help reduce conflict.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our professor Q&As

Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, will take place Saturday, Nov. 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer.

Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Yang will deliver a public reading and discussion of Boxers & Saints at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 21, at the Egan Leadership Center’s Troutman Lectorium at Fourth and Breckenridge. A reception and book signing will follow. Students and teachers are particularly encouraged to attend this event.

Plenty of free parking is available for the campus readings. All readings and events are free, ticketless, and open to the public.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) The Anne and William Axton Series, in conjunction with the Louisville Literary Arts Writer’s Block Festival, presents award-winning novelist Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You. Book signing will follow.

5 – 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. Faculty Reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)  Greetings by Kathleen Driskell.

  • Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), The Eye is Not Enough: On Seeing and Remembering
  • Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify
  • Beth Ann Bauman (writing for children & young adults), Jersey Angel
  • Charlie Schulman (dramatic writing), Goldstein: A Musical About Family
  • Lynnell Edwards (poetry), Covet

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18. Celebration of Recently Published Books. Book signing to follow. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Introduction by Kathleen Driskell. Books provided by Follett.

  • K.L. Cook (fiction; creative nonfiction; poetry), Marrying Kind; The Art of Disobedience: Essays on Form, Fiction, and Influence; Lost Soliloquies
  • Helena Kriel (screenwriting), The Year of Facing Fire (a memoir)
  • Keith Wilson (poetry), Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love
  • Katy Yocom (fiction), Three Ways to Disappear

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20. Faculty Reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Greetings by Lynnell Edwards.

  • Erin Keane (professional writing; poetry), Demolition of the Promised Land
  • Roy Hoffman (creative nonfiction; fiction), Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations; Come Landfall
  • Jason Howard (professional writing; creative nonfiction), A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music
  • Maggie Smith (poetry), Good Bones
  • Silas House (fiction), Southernmost
  • Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. Distinguished Visiting Writer Gene Luen Yang discusses ‘Boxers & Saints.’ (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Introduction by Kathleen Driskell. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett.

5:45 – 6:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Faculty Reading. (Citation Room, 1st fl., Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway)

  • John Pipkin (fiction), The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter
  • Kira Obolensky (playwriting), Hiding in the Open
  • Robin Lippincott (fiction; creative nonfiction), Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South; Blue Territory
  • Rachel Harper (fiction), This Side of Providence
  • Bruce Romans (screenwriting), Executive Producer of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix and AMC’s Hell on Wheels

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: Facebook.com/SpaldingSchoolofWriting. For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email schoolofwriting@spalding.edu.

About Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing: Spalding’s graduate creative writing school, Kentucky’s first school of writing, offers three low-residency programs, including the flagship 65-credit-hour MFA in Writing program; a 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing, offering tracks in creative writing and professional writing; and a 15-credit graduate certificate in writing, also with two tracks. The School of Writing offers concentrations in fiction; poetry; creative nonfiction; writing for children and young adults; writing for TV, screen, and stage; and professional writing. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer, or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad, then return home for an independent study with a faculty mentor for the rest of the semester. Students may customize the location, season, and pace of their studies. See spalding.edu/schoolofwriting for more information, or find us on Twitter @SpaldingWriting.

Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing welcomes acclaimed television and film writer and producer Bruce Marshall Romans to the faculty. Romans, whose television writing and producing credits include Hell on Wheels and Marvel’s The Punisher, will deliver a lecture about writing for TV at the upcoming November residency before taking on full teaching duties with the Spring 2020 semester, when he will lead a writers’ room workshop at the May residency and mentor screenwriting students in independent study.

Romans writes and develops film and television projects in Los Angeles. His television credits include selling a variety of original drama pilots to networks including ABC, NBC, Fox, Lifetime, and FX. He has written and produced four seasons of Hell on Wheels on AMC, Steven Spielberg’s Falling Skies on TNT, Marco Polo and Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, and Messiah, also for Netflix (to be released January 1, 2020). He is currently writing/co-executive producing a new drama, Deputy, for Fox, as well as developing and writing an original television pilot, also for Fox. His film credits include producing the independent film Blackbird and writing the independent film How You Look to Me.

A Louisville native, Romans is brother to Preakness Stakes-winning racehorse trainer Dale Romans and son of noted trainer Jerry Romans.

Learn More about Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing
Check out the School of Writing’s faculty and program blog

Bruce brings years of Hollywood experience to our programs, and we’re delighted he’s agreed to come on faculty to develop and teach a new workshop that will mirror an actual Hollywood writers’ room,” School of Writing Chair Kathleen Driskell said. “Our Spalding School of Writing students will now have the opportunity to work together to pitch ideas, break, and write episodes for an existing TV pilot in an enriching one-of-a-kind instructional experience.”

Romans joins Larry Brenner, Gabriel Jason Dean, Helena Kriel, Charlie Schulman and Sam Zalutsky on the screenwriting faculty of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing, which houses three low-residency graduate writing programs: the nationally recognized Master of Fine Arts in Writing, a 65-credit terminal degree focused on creative writing, as well as the new 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing and 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Writing, both of which offer creative and professional tracks. The School of Writing offers intellectual rigor, emotional support, affordability, flexibility, and community at the world’s first certified Compassionate University. The low-residency model helps students fit graduate school into their lives.

The School of Writing accepts applications year-round with an early placement deadline of February 1 for entry in the Spring 2020 semester, which begins with a 10-day residency on Spalding’s campus, May 22-31, or the Summer 2020 semester, which begins with a 10-day residency in Paris, dates TBA. To apply, visit spalding.edu/schoolofwriting.