Summer Creative Writing Institute Wraps Up with Showcase of Faculty and Student Talent

The Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation wrapped up for the summer on June 20, with its wildly popular Creative Writing Showcase. Students, faculty, and special guests met on a warm evening on the Secchia Terrace to read from the work they produced throughout the semester. They also enjoyed pizza and a drink together while Romero Biagini-Rosenbaum, a participating student of Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins and classical guitar at the Peabody Institute, serenaded all with his spectacular guitar playing.  The event topped a great summer of readings and lectures.

The 2024 Writer in Residence, Rachel Cantor, launched the Institute’s events with a reading on May 21, and the reception that followed on the Secchia Terrace allowed students and faculty to meet and mingle. Rachel Cantor also conducted a Master class with all four Creative Writing classes during the five weeks of the Institute.

From left, Shannon Russell, Matthew Kneale, Moira Egan, Silvia Giagnaoni

In week two, Professor Moira Egan moderated a discussion with Whitbred-winning author Matthew Kneale and JCU professor Silvia Giagnoni about the challenges of writing non-fiction and fiction when positioned as cultural outsiders. Later that same week, students and faculty were entertained by a wonderful reading by former alumnus Jahan Khajavi, who read from his debut poetry collection, Feast of the Ass.

In week three, JCU Professor Allison-Grimaldi Donahue, a writer and translator herself, was in conversation with author and translator Marzia D’Amico to discuss how translation can be an act of activism. Later that same week, multiple award-winning writer, Cynthia Zarin, who teaches at Yale, read from her poetry collections and her first novel, Inverno.

Ocean Vuong

In week four, the Institute welcomed best-selling writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius award, Ocean Vuong, who gave his first-ever reading in Rome at John Cabot in the Lemon Tree Courtyard. His reading was followed by a stimulating and thought-provoking exchange with the audience about the importance of reading and the craft of writing. Students and faculty had the pleasure of enjoying casual conversation with him after the event during a dinner on the Secchia Terrace.

In the last week of the Institute, Rachel Cantor and Institute Director and Associate Professor of English Literature, Shannon Russell, discussed the Bronte siblings in relation to Cantor’s re-imagining of their lives in her latest novel, Half Life of a Stolen Sister. All events were well attended by both students, faculty, and the general public. If you would like to join our mailing list to hear about next summer’s Institute events, please write to [email protected].