Write On: Undergraduates Focus of Boldface Writing Conference at UH

Event Offers Workshops, Readings, Craft Talks to Student Writers

Writing conferences are designed to provide poets and fiction writers with the opportunity to develop their talents through workshops, peer discussions and public readings. Often, however, such events are squarely aimed at graduate students and experienced writers.

This summer, the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program (CWP) is premiering Boldface, a new conference aimed specifically at undergraduate writers. Boldface runs June 22 - 26 at UH.

"This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates to grow as writers," said Lynn Voskuil, UH English professor and one of the event's principal organizers. "It also is a unique experience for these undergraduates since they will receive attention and guidance from published writers and constructive feedback from their peers."

Students from across the country are participating in Boldface and have submitted manuscripts to the conference's coordinators. During the event, these works will be developed through intensive workshops led by CWP's talented graduate students. Participating students also will attend craft talks to hear discussions from experienced writers and readings conducted on campus and at local coffee houses. A complete schedule of events can be accessed at http://www.uh.edu/glassmountain/conference_program.html.

"Boldface also allows these undergraduates to build networks," Voskuil said. "It's important that they can connect with writers who are at their same level, as well as graduate students, who can serve as mentors."

Boldface is made possible through a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Curriculum Development grant, which was awarded by UH's Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs.

The conference complements the university's ongoing efforts to develop undergraduate writers. Among these is the literary journal Glass Mountain, which is devoted to poetry and fiction written by undergraduates. Founded in 2006, the publication is edited by undergraduate students with support from Voskuil. For more details on Glass Mountain, visit www.uh.edu/glassmountain/index.html.

"Boldface is an innovative initiative that will allow serious emerging writers a chance to work on their craft and to professionalize themselves," said J. Kastely, director of CWP. "It is representative of UH's efforts to provide the best education to its students and to be a national leader in curriculum innovation."

As part of UH's English department, the Creative Writing Program offers poets, fiction writers and non-fiction writers intensive training in both creative writing and literary studies. It offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. CWP's noted faculty includes award-winning authors and poets such as novelist Antonya Nelson, poet and non-fiction writer Nick Flynn, graphic novelist Mat Johnson and poet Tony Hoagland. To learn more about the program, visit www.class.uh.edu/cwp/.