Wednesday March 9, 2016

Come One, Come All

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop sold out in less than six hours, but there's plenty of opportunity to join in the fun. Three events are free and open to the public.

The University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop sold out in less than six hours, with more than 350 writers expected to make the journey to Dayton from all parts of the country, Canada and even Spain for the March 31-April 2 laughfest.

Still, there’s plenty of opportunity for others to join in the fun. Three events are free and open to the public.

Humorist Roy Blount Jr. arrives in town early to introduce his newest book, Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, at Books & Co. at The Greene, 4453 Walnut St.

A master storyteller and prolific writer, he has written two dozen books and is a familiar voice on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! He will kick off the workshop with an opening night keynote talk at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at the Dayton Marriott Hotel. No tickets are available, but his talk is open to the media.

Best-selling author, humorist, syndicated columnist and feminist scholar Gina Barreca will emcee the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition Awards Ceremony at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, at the Centerville Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Rd.

The contest attracted 563 humor and human interest essays from around the world. Four winners — two local and two global — will receive cash prizes and free registrations to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, is the finalist judge for the humor category. Daryn Kagan, syndicated columnist and former CNN anchor, is serving as the finalist judge for the human interest entries. The nearly 50 preliminary judges include nationally known authors, columnists, screenwriters, stand-up comedians and a longtime writer for David Letterman.

After the awards ceremony, Barreca will sign copies of her newest book, If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times.  

Thanks to a grant from Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the general public will be able to join writers at Barreca’s “Erma 101” sessions at the workshop. Barreca is a professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut and a popular speaker at past workshops.

Who was the great humorist Erma Bombeck, and why has her writing stood the test of time? What’s her place in literary history? What can we learn today from her approach?

Barreca will talk about Bombeck’s enduring appeal and entertain participants at two 75-minute sessions: 3:30 p.m., Friday, April 1, and 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 2, in the Auditorium in the 1700 South Patterson Building on River Campus. A book signing will follow her Saturday talk. Visitor parking is available.

The 2016 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is co-sponsored by the University of Dayton’s Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences and Bookstore; Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities; Writer’s Digest; National Society of Newspaper Columnists; Books & Co.; Dayton Marriott Hotel; Dayton Mailing Services; 91.3 WYSO; and the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop Endowment.

For more information about the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, click on the related links.

To arrange media interviews, contact Teri Rizvi, founder and co-director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, at erma@udayton.edu or 937-367-2878.

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