The Best of Both Worlds
The Graduate Program in Creative Writing will be creating the best of both worlds this July during its much-beloved summer residency. The new format will allow for maximum learning in a healthy environment with reduced cost.
This summer, rather than all students gathering on campus for two full weeks, Genre Fiction and Screenwriting students will be on campus the first week and take courses online the second week. Nature Writing, Poetry and Publishing students will take courses online the first week and be on campus the second week.
This hybrid approach allows for fewer people on campus at one time, which will reduce everyone’s risk of COVID-19 exposure. It also allows students to access some of the benefits of one online week, including increased flexibility and accessibility, lowered expenses, and the ability to bring in additional guest speakers.
There’s an overall feeling of excitement for being together in the wildflower-strewn mountains around Gunnison. Participants in the Nature Writing concentration, for example, will be spending their first in-person day hiking to Lake Irwin, where they’ll be engaged in writing place, water coloring and embodied writing practices.
“Meandering around, chatting with students—that’s the thing I’ve missed most during COVID times,” said Laura Pritchett, director of the Nature Writing program. “Whether walking with someone across campus or exploring nearby mountain trails—well, that conversation can’t quite be replicated in Zoom. I’m sincerely delighted to be seeing participants in the program, face-to-face, and in the gorgeous mountains of Gunnison and Crested Butte.”
Optional Virtual Attendance
Some of the highlights of the on-campus portion of this year’s residency include the Master of Fine Arts thesis readings given by graduating students, craft talks given by the faculty, open-mic nights, the Publishing program’s book launch event at the Gunnison Arts Center and of course the program’s graduation ceremony.
“In addition to having this year’s residency be half virtual, half in-person, we are taking the unusual step of allowing any student who is not comfortable meeting in person to attend the entire residency virtually,” said Program Director Tyson Hausdoerffer. “We hope that most students will attend in person, but as we exit the pandemic era, we need to be as flexible as possible—it’s a matter of accessibility, really.”
Maintaining a Sense of Community
Hausdoerffer said that in 2022 organizers look forward to returning to a full-blown, in-person residency. “Gathering on campus once per year is so important to our sense of community,” he said.
Every year, the program brings in a range of guests not only to inspire students but also to provide them with significant insight into the way the writing and publishing industries work. Special guests at this year’s residency will include authors Julie Carrick Dalton, Rachelle Cruz, CMarie Fuhrman, Clemonce Heard, Darcie Little Badger, Malka Older and more, plus notable agents, editors and publishers.
Learn more about the Graduate Program in Creative Writing.