Creative Writing Institute at UTPA July 12-18 features prominent national author
Posted: 07/03/2006
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The University of Texas-Pan American English department will sponsor its fourth annual Creative Writing Institute July 12-18. This year for the first time the institute will feature the genre of creative nonfiction as well as poetry and fiction.

The program schedule consists of workshops for enrolled students in the mornings, panel discussions by local and national authors in the afternoons, and literary readings in the evenings. Workshops are geared toward both beginning and advanced students. Panel discussions include topics of interest to writers, such as publishing, giving literary readings, the South Texas writing scene, and the interface between poetry and visual arts. These panels, as well as the evening readings, are free and open to the public and will be held at the Student Union Theater on the UTPA campus.

- Dagoberto Gilb
Nationally prominent author Dagoberto Gilb will participate in all three aspects of the institute as faculty member, panelist, and reader. Gilb's prestigious writing awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995 and a PEN/Hemingway for his debut fiction collection "The Magic of Blood" (1993). This book was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1994.

Gilb's other books include a novel, "The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuna" (1994), a second collection of fiction, "Woodcuts of Women" (2001), and a collection of creative essays, "Gritos" (2003). He is also the editor of "Hecho in Tejas," an anthology of Mexican-American writing from Texas which will be published in October 2006 by the University of New Mexico Press. In addition, Gilb is also a contributor to National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program.

Gilb will read from his work at Nueva Onda Poet's Café on Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m. and be available afterward to sign books and talk with fans. The Nueva Onda opened last year at 2717 N. McColl in Edinburg and has hosted local and visiting writers and musical performers, as well as a weekly open-microphone session.

The other institute faculty members, Dr. Steven Schneider and Dr. René Saldaña, will conduct the poetry and fiction workshops, respectively. Both are published creative writers and faculty members in the UTPA English department. Saldaña and Schneider will give creative readings in connection with the institute at the Student Union Theater on Wednesday, July 12 at 7 p.m., and be available afterward for discussion and book signings. Enrolled students in the institute will also give public readings of their creative work in the Student Union Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 13 and Monday, July 17.

UTPA faculty members Dr. Steven Schneider (left) and Dr. René Saldaña (right) will conduct poetry and fiction workshops at the fourth annual Creative Writing Institute July 12-18.
Schneider, chair of UTPA's English department, is a poet as well as a literary critic. He has written five books, including "Prairie Air Show," a collection of poems, and "A.R. Ammons and the Poetics of Widening Scope," a critical study of Ammons's work. His poems and articles have been published in many journals, including "Prairie Schooner," "The Literary Review," "The Beloit Poetry Journal," "Tikkun," and "Critical Quarterly." This year Schneider has published two professional articles dealing with important themes of the Creative Writing Institute: in March, "Crossing Borders with Poetry and Art" appeared in "The Chronicle of Higher Education" and "Teaching Culturally Relevant Literature" was published in the April 10 issue of "The Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education."

Saldaña teaches creative writing and literature at UTPA. He is the author of "Finding Our Way: Stories" and "The Jumping Tree." Several of his stories, poems, and reviews have been published in "Face Relations: Stories from Beneath the Skin," "American Book Review," "READ Magazine" and "Southwestern American Literature." His forthcoming novel, "The Whole Sky Full of Stars," is scheduled for publication in spring 2007.

Students enrolled in the Creative Writing Institute receive university credit for the successful completion of a writing course. In the two weeks following the public events, they will have the opportunity to polish their creative portfolios in consultation with faculty members.

For registration or more information about the Creative Writing Institute, call 956/381-3421.