University hotels are stepping up to give writers an environment in which they can practice and advance their craft. Last month, Study Hotels launched a brand-wide writer-in-residence initiative and the University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop announced that the Marriott at the University of Dayton will host two writers as part of a humorist-in-residence program. Read more about each of these announcements below.
Study Hotels Creates Writer-in-Residence Program
Study Hotels is creating yet another bridge between university culture and the greater community through the brand’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence Program. Launching at both The Study at Yale in New Haven, Conn. and The Study at University City in Philadelphia, the program will provide selected writers in residence with a complimentary, week-long stay. The program also provides a new way for hotel guests to engage with the university’s literary scene during their stay: Resident writers will share their talent with the community through events such as readings, workshops, or Q&As open to the public at their respective Study Hotels property.
The program, which kicked off on December 1 and will run through 2020, partners with university-affiliated organizations. The Yale Writers’ Workshop (a program of the Yale Summer Session) has selected fiction writer Julie Buntin for residency at The Study at Yale. Drexel’s Writers Room (an inclusive literary arts program in West Philadelphia) has selected poet and multimedia social practice artist Andrea Walls for residency at The Study at University City, where she will explore her voice and the politics of language. Both writers will enjoy a separate in-room library den with a writing desk and leather chair and ottoman, a daily food and beverage stipend, unlimited coffee and tea, complimentary access to select museums and theaters, a custom-embroidered seersucker robe, and all the necessary writing and printing supplies to develop their work to their fullest potential.
“The idea for this program was born from conversations with Drexel’s Writers Room about how to better support their extraordinary literary talent,” said Paul McGowan, president and founder of Hospitality 3 and Study Hotels. “We are constantly searching for ways to support the community within our collegiate market and the Writer-in-Residence Program offers these brilliant minds the restful and reflective Study Hotels experience they need to progress their work. As a brand with a passion for the literary arts, this program is a natural fit.”
Two Writers Awarded a Hotel Room of Their Own
Liz Kozak, director of editorial and content development at The Second City in Chicago, and Tracy Brady, a communications and public relations professional from Carlisle, Mass., will be robed in plush, custom-embroidered bathrobes as the 2020 winners of a writer’s residency at the Marriott at the University of Dayton.
As part of the winning package for A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program, Kozak and Brady will be flown as guests to the April 2-4 University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. At the close of the workshop, they will remain at the Marriott at the University of Dayton for another two weeks to work on their proposed humor projects. The perks include free room service, housekeeping, and an omelette bar.
“I work from home, mostly in my bathrobe. This experience was made for me. And if I am ultimately not selected, please bestow it upon another mom who writes from home. She deserves to have someone else make up her bed while she makes up her future,” wrote Kozak in her application.
“Humor writing is my release and my joy. I write because being funny makes me feel alive, and making people laugh is the best feeling in the world,” said Brady.
Nearly 50 preliminary judges, all established writers, narrowed the field for Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry and best-selling novelist Adriana Trigiani, who selected the winners. The contest drew applications from 396 writers from eight countries.
Kozak, a former writer and producer of on-air promotions at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios who has been “living and writing with” multiple sclerosis for 18 years, is working on The Christmas Widow—”a screenplay for hate-watchers and love-bingers, a mash-up of two of the greatest film genres of our time: made-for-TV stalker thrillers and made-for-TV holiday rom-coms.”
Barry commented, “This person writes like a pro. A really snarky pro. Which is good.”
Brady’s proposed comic novel, Playgroup, is a “darkly comic novel about six bored stay-at-home parents recruited by the CIA to become government assassins” and draws inspiration “from play dates when my children were little,” she wrote in her application. “I was surrounded by (mostly) women with MBAs, Ph.D.s, professional success—we were all taking time off to ‘just be a mom.’ We laughed about spending our days in germ-infested ball pits, sweltering playgrounds, and expensive music ‘classes’ for children who couldn’t sit up yet. We bonded over our choices, and we realized that many of us were struggling with those choices. I wanted to write honestly—and funnily—about the complex feelings women have about modern marriage and motherhood.”
Trigiani called Brady a “great original voice” with “superb style,” and Barry said her writing was “reminiscent of Erma herself.”