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Drexel Writing Festival

The Drexel Writing Festival takes place annually during the Spring Quarter. This year's schedule of events is listed below. All events are free and open to the public and will take place in the Perelman Center for Jewish Life at 118 N. 34th Street in Philadelphia unless otherwise noted.

April 16, 2019

Perelman Center for Jewish Life | 118 N. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


12 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.

Micro Workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
(by RSVP only: hpi22@drexel.edu)
Choose two out of three genres (poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction) to explore in quick, exciting sessions where you will create new work on the spot!

Poet Jill Moses will lead the poetry workshop. Author Casandra Hirsch will lead the nonfiction workshop. Short story author Tim Fitts will lead a fiction workshop. Performance artist Fred Siegel will lead a workshop in playwriting.

1:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Writers Room presents Tripod: People, Places, Portraits
Participants in this Canon sponsored project—undergraduate students, local high school students and community members—will present on the group projects that they have created, using words and photographs to collaboratively document the West Philly neighborhoods and the lives they are living within them together. See the photos and hear about the stories and the project.

Hosted by author and Drexel English professor Kirsten Kaschock.

3 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.

Spontaneous Composition Through Soundpainting: A Presentation by Leese Walker of performance group Strike Anywhere
Established in 1997, the Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble is a permanent collective of jazz musicians, modern dancers, and actors. This presentation will explain what soundpainting is and how it is used to inspire unique creative performances.

Leese Walker is an interdisciplinary performance artist, director, producer and teaching-artist. She is the founder and Artistic Director of NYC's Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble.

4:30 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.

The Drexel Publishing Group Creative Writing Contest Winner
Student winners in various genres will present the award winning work that will appear in next year’s The 33rd.

Hosted by Professor Gail Rosen.

5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Canceled: Songwriter’s Circle: A Peek Into the World of Songwriting
Young aspiring artists will perform live in an intimate setting, and also be part of a short Q&A on the process of songwriting.

Marc Offenbach, professor in Drexel’s Music Industry Department, will host.

April 17, 2019

Perelman Center for Jewish Life | 118 N. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


12 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Ritual of Toxic Masculinity in Crime Novels: a presentation by novelist Alan Drew
Villanova professor and novelist Alan Drew will discuss the role of toxic masculinity in the crime novel genre.

Alan Drew is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Gardens of Water and of Shadow Man. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. An associate professor of English at Villanova University, Alan Drew directs the creative writing program.

1 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Fiction Workshop led by novelist Alan Drew
Villanova professor and novelist Alan Drew will lead a workshop aimed at developing new material.

Alan Drew is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Gardens of Water and of Shadow Man. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. An associate professor of English at Villanova University, Alan Drew directs the creative writing program.

2 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

A Ritual Approach to Writing Poetry: a presentation by poet and professor Donald Riggs
Drexel professor and poet Donald Riggs brings his signature humor and wit to a presentation on the use of ritual in writing poetry.

Don Riggs was raised in an anti-ritualistic church that nonetheless had its own rituals. He majored in Myth and Ritual as an undergraduate, where one of his advisors had been a student of Mircea Eliade, the expert on Shamanism.

3 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Spirituality: What’s Ritual Got to Do With It?
The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard argues that there is a “how” that brings the “what” along with it. The “what” in question is transcendent truth and the “how” is the rituals that comprise spirituality. This talk looks at the issue of the variety of ritual traditions and argues that, ultimately, our diverse traditions unite us all with the same transcendent truth.

M.G. Piety is a philosopher and professor who publishes widely on the work of Søren Kierkegaard.

4 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

My Journey through the Rituals of Jewish Divorce
Drexel professor and poet Lynn Levin uses humor to relay her experience navigating the complicated rites of a Jewish divorce.

Lynn Levin is the author of four books of poetry and a book of translation.

5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Maya Literary Magazine Writing Workshop & Open Mic
The editors of Maya Magazine will lead a writing workshop and follow it up with an open mic. Come and show off your creative talents!

This event will be hosted by the editors of Maya.

April 18, 2019

Perelman Center for Jewish Life | 118 N. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


12 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.

Exploring Ritual Through the Senses: Connecting Food and Memory
So many of our rituals are associated with food. Prayer, marriage, funerals, ramp up for the day or wind down from it, dates, anniversaries, or even break ups happen over food and beverage. This workshop explores the power of food as a multisensory and interdisciplinary springboard for your writing.

Drexel Culinary Arts professor Jonathan Deutsch and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, professor of English Education at Columbia University will lead.

1:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Saving Journalism’s Soul in the Age of Trump
Journalist Will Bunch explores the effects of Trump’s anti-journalism rhetoric on the profession.

Will Bunch is currently a senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and the author of a popular political blog called “Attytood.” He has won numerous journalism awards, sharing the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting with the New York Newsday staff.

This event is co-sponsored by the Communications Department

3 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.

Pennoni Honors Panel: Should Inclusivity Play a Part in Literature?
In a current climate concerned with inclusivity and diversity, the publishing industry has been critiqued for producing texts that lack racial, gender, sexuality, body, and class diversity. This panel seeks to address how we approach the critiqued literary canon, potential methods to diversify the canon, and provide insight into questions regarding the relationship between art and artist.

Dr. Melinda Lewis, managing editor of The Smart Set, will introduce the panel.

4:30 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.

Reading by award winning poet Iain Haley Pollock
Award winning poet Iain Haley Pollock reads from his new collection, Ghost Like a Place.

Iain Haley Pollock is the author of two poetry collections, Ghost, Like a Place (Alice James Books, 2018), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and Spit Back a Boy, winner of the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.

This event is co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.

5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Poetry workshop led by Iain Haley Pollock
Award winning poet Iain Haley Pollock leads a poetry workshop with students wishing to create new work.

Iain Haley Pollock is the author of two poetry collections, Ghost, Like a Place (Alice James Books, 2018), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and Spit Back a Boy, winner of the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.

This event is co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.

For more information about the Drexel Writing Festival please contact Henry Israeli at hpi22@drexel.edu