(Ashland, ORE.) A new writing program at Southern Oregon University is inviting local residents and visitors to participate in several admission-free panel discussions, readings and social events August 12-17. The activities are part of the inaugural Institute for New Writing / Ashland (INWA). INWA focuses on three writing genres – fiction, poetry, and noir literature – and features faculty from SOU plus published writers from across the U S, and students from many states.The kick off event Monday, August 12, is “Noir Night at Omar’s” from 10 p.m. until midnight. It features “flash readings from the dark side,” jazz, and a cash bar. Omar’s is located at the junction of Highway 66 and Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland.
Tuesday through Thursday, August 13-15, panels hosted by a member of the INWA faculty and a visiting writer will be held in SOU’s Hannon Library at 2:15 p.m. each day. In the evenings at 7 p.m., the same presenters will also give readings at the SOU Schneider Museum of Art.
Friday night, August 16, is the INWA Dance Party and Open Mic at Club 66 from 9 p.m. until midnight. Club 66 is located at 1951 Ashland St. in Ashland.
The final event, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, August 17, “INWApalooza,” is a literary festival with local guest writers at the SOU Schneider Museum of Art. Admission is free to all events and open to the public.
“The environment for this institute will be creative, supportive, expansive, and fun,” says Robert Arellano, Director of SOU’s Center for Emerging Media, and one of three SOU faculty members leading INWA. “It’s part of SOU’s expanding commitment to creativity and innovation that includes a new major in Emerging Media and Digital Arts, the new Digital Media Center, and, hopefully, a future Master of Fine Arts degree in writing.”
Joining Arellano, the author of six novels, are SOU faculty members K. Silem Mohammad, a poet and the author of Deer Head Nation, Breathalyzer, and The Front, and Craig Wright, author of the short story collection Redemption Center.
Presentations will also be given by guest writers Kevin Killian, part of the “New Narrative” literary circle in the San Francisco bay area, Sharon Mesmer, who teaches at New York University, the New School, the Poetry Project, and online for the Chicago School of Poetics, andVanessa Place, who is a critic, criminal defense attorney, co-director of Les Fiques Press, and a leading practitioner of conceptual writing.
“We’re very excited to bring these exceptional writers to SOU to help us launch INWA,” says Arellano.