LACEY, Wash. – Area fiction writers are invited to spread the wings of their imaginations at the second annual Summer Creative Writing Institute June 4-10 on the idyllic Saint Martin’s University campus. The week is set aside for a small community of authors to write, study and support one another as they cultivate their own creativity. Acclaimed Olympia novelist Jim Lynch will be their muse and guide.
Lynch has penned several captivating novels set in Western Washington, including “The Highest Tide,” “Truth Like the Sun” and “Before the Wind,” released last April. He will share his experience as a storyteller as well as his knowledge of the writing business.
Writers selected will have an opportunity to learn from Lynch individually and as a group at his daily writing presentations.
“We are delighted to have Jim back for 2017’s summer institute,” says Olivia Archibald, Ph.D., professor of English and the institute’s creator and director. “We were inundated with comments from participants in last summer's institute, who made such remarks as ‘This can’t be your first institute,’ ‘What a week!’, and ‘Frankly, this was a very rich and amazing experience’.”
Playwright and Northwest Playwrights Alliance co-founder Bryan Willis, an Olympia native who has given the Northwest its own niche on the international stage with such plays as “Bootleg,” also will be on hand to lead an afternoon workshop in playwriting. He also will do a follow-up on playwriting during one of the four evening presentations given by guest writers.
The institute is small – just 15 slots – and prospective wordsmiths, drawn from all ability levels, must submit a writing sample of fiction as part of the online application. Applicants will receive a response about their admission status within two weeks of applying, says Archibald.
Institute-goers are encouraged to reside on campus so they may “enjoy that sustained experience that can only happen when living in a writer’s community for a week,” she says.
“Some participants in last summer’s institute still continue meeting in writing groups, important for some of us who need the gentle push of deadlines and want other eyes to read and comment about our writing,” she said.
The creation of the Summer Creative Writing Institute in 2016 follows establishment of the Les Bailey Writers Series in 2014 by the University’s English Department. Named for beloved English Professor Leslie G. Bailey, Ph.D., who died in 2010, the series brings writers of note to campus to read and discuss their books, a practice that was an especially meaningful part of Bailey’s teaching philosophy. Such jewels of the writing world as Brian Doyle, Jess Walter and Molly Gloss, all Northwest novelists, have shared their work with students and the public through the series. Lynch will be the featured author at the Les Bailey Writers Series presentation next October.
Like the series, the institute honoring Bailey has introduced the area to Northwest talents.
“In focusing on Pacific Northwest writers, we are realizing the tremendous wealth of authors we have in this part of the country whom we want to tap into,” Archibald says.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing¬ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic¬tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,243 undergraduate students and 277 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campus at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.
For more information:
Olivia Archibald, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Summer Creative Writing Institute assistant