The boundaries between the Writers House and the surrounding community are porous indeed. We are, like our neighbors, as much Lancastrians as Fummers and strive to serve both of these communities of writers and readers. Our events are free, and most are open to the public. We also produce or co-sponsor a number of projects with partners in Lancaster. Read on for more information about the Writers House near your house...
The Writers House is proud to be a home to the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a program that provides tuition-free, college-level instruction for educationally disadvantaged individuals. Classes meet twice a week on campus for eight months, and students receive free books, carfare, and childcare. Visit the Clemente Course's website
In 2005-2006, we introduced Clemente Kids, so while parents were learning, their kids were, too. Writers House staff and volunteers not only supervised the children, but also challenged them with creative activities. A Jungle Love Story, written by Keya, Danny and Elise, is one of our favorite projects to emerge from this pilot program.
Each April, the Fulton Elementary School in Lancaster publishes Sunrise, a wonderful magazine featuring the poetry and visual art of Fulton&'s 1st through 5th graders. Also in April, the Fulton School hosts a wildly successful Poetry and Arts Night. On this night, students share their poetry, music, dance and art with a city-wide audience in the Fulton School's newly refurbished theatre at 225 West Orange Street. Since 2006, the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House has sponsored Poetry and Arts Night and helped fund Sunrise, and Writers House community members also have worked with the Fulton School's gifted literacy coach, Barbara Strasko, as she works with her students on their poems.
For the past few years, the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House has helped support one event hosted by the Lancaster Literary Guild, a salutary literary arts presenter whose mission includes bringing eminent non-fiction writers to Lancaster for popular public lectures and organizing writers-in-the-schools programs for school children in Lancaster City. Since 2006, the Writers House has helped fund the Guild's programs featuring Bill McKibben and Pico Iyer. In exchange, the Guild helps the Writers House bring these internationally acclaimed writers to Franklin & Marshall's campus for intimate brunch and conversation with the College's students and interested faculty.
Franklin & Marshall student-athletes from three varsity teams took turns visiting the College's Children's Center to participate in the week-long Read-A-Thon. The goal of the Read-A-Thon is to promote a love of reading from the earliest years, to encourage parents to read to their children and help the classrooms replace and build their libraries.
The men's and women's lacrosse teams, along with the football team sponsored a classroom to raise money to purchase new books, audio books, and help create a series of "imagination" boxes that will be filled with items to enhance the children's play and learning.
"Not only have these groups helped to raise funding for new books and supplies for our Center, but they have also donated their time to visit this week as 'guest readers' during storytime," said Jennifer Milford, F&M's Children's Center Parent's Board Member and Chemistry Professor. "Books and reading are always a part of a child's day at the Center, but it's an extra treat to have someone special come and read to them, and we greatly appreciate their time and energy."
This is the second straight year student-athletes have participated in Read-A-Thon. Last year, the women's soccer, field hockey and football teams each sponsored a room to foster a greater sense of community between the Children's Center and the rest of the campus.
Each year, the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House produces a booklet for a local nonprofit organization to tell the stories of the people it serves, to offer inspiration to those still seeking help and to highlight Lancaster's invaluable community resources. With guidance from Writers House faculty and staff, students spend a semester interviewing, photographing, writing and editing - all the challenging work of journalism - to make these publications possible.Domestic Violence Services 2006-2007
It is estimated that a woman is beaten every twelve seconds and that one out of four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Thousands are killed. Fortunately, many others escape and survive due to organizations like Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster (DVS). During 2006-2007, DVS provided services to over 1,900 victims of domestic violence and their dependent children. Yet, so many women continue to endure abuse, not knowing that help is out there, or that they are strong enough to take the first step towards freedom. Twelve women spoke candidly about how they overcame this fear and rebuilt their lives with the help of DVS. Their stories are a ray of hope to those still suffering at the hands of a violent partner.
Student Writers: Attila Cidam '07, Marie Cleaves, Jessica Migliore '06, Sara Wolfson '09, Christine Yerkes,and Hannah Zimmermann '08
In 2006, the federal government estimated that 47 million Americans had no health insurance of any kind. In Lancaster, SouthEast Lancaster Health Services (SELHS) offers free and sliding scale medical services to those without adequate coverage. Several of these individuals shared openly about their health problems. Quickly, we realized that difficult pregnancies, heroin addiction, schizophrenia, diabetes, and heart disease were compounded by immigration hearings, domestic disputes and cultural barriers. At SELHS, patients are given a voice to share their whole story, in their own language.
Check back soon to read these profiles of health and hope
Student Writers: Carolina Kelly, Dominique Martella, Kathleen McDevitt, Ilena Ryan, Jennifer Stuart
In January of 2007, three local fiction writers, Deborah Linder, Ann Stewart and Mitch Sommers, organized this group to give participants a chance to share their fiction and give and receive constructive criticism. The group collected submissions in January of 2007 and began meeting the next month. Group members convene in the evenings twice a month with a break during the summer. Submissions are no longer being accepted for this group.
Mark Healy, Fall 2006
In the fall of 2006, playwright and actor Mark Healy served as playwright-in-residence at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House. In this role, Healy guest lectured in numerous classes, led free workshops for students and the public in acting and playwriting, and he visited the Fulton School to do two movement and performance workshops for their fifth-grade students. Mark Healy's adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula premiered in September at the Fulton Opera House. Healy's other writing credits include a translation of Britannicus, adaptations of Jane Austen's Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility which have been performed all over the UK, and an adaptation of John Fowles's The Collector which was performed in Greece will make its London West End debut in 2007. Following the World Premier of The French Lieutenant's Woman at the Fulton in 2003, it began a national tour of the UK that continued through 2006. Healy is currently working on an original play about the life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Most recently, Healy has been commissioned to do a stage adaptation of Cider with Rosie , the classic English country novel by Laurie Lee, for a major production in 2008. Healy is also an accomplished actor whose theatre credits include: Stephen Daldry's production of An Inspector Calls; the West End hit Woman in Black Hamlet; She Stoops to Conquer; and many other productions. His British television credits include "Over Here" for the BBC and "Family Affairs" for Channel 5 TV. Healy trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Hull. Mark Healy's residency was coordinated with the Fulton Theatre and co-sponsored by The Philadelphia Alumni Writers House, the Performing Arts Coordinator, the department of English, and the President's Office at Franklin & Marshall.
Tim Slover, Spring 2006
During the spring semester of 2006, Tim Slover served as a playwright-in-residence at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House. As part of F&M's Franklin Tercentenary celebration, the College joined with the Fulton Opera House to premiere a newly commissioned play, called Lightning Rod, by playwright Tim Slover. During the semester Tim Slover spoke at several events, attended classes, held occasional, informal office hours, and taught a free evening workshop in playwriting for local playwrights. Tim Slover (PhD English, University of Michigan) is a playwright, screenwriter, and educator. His plays have been performed off-Broadway and around the US and Canada, and his film, A More Perfect Union, was broadcast nationally on PBS. Slover's Treasure, about Alexander Hamilton, premiered at the Fulton in 2004 to great acclaim. His Joyful Noise, about Handel's writing of The Messiah has been optioned for production as a film. Slover's writing awards include a George Washington Freedom Medal, an American Screenwriters Association International Award, a Hopwood Award, and an Emmy nomination, among others. Franklin & Marshall is grateful to the Richard C. von Hess Foundation for their support of both Lightning Rod, which ran at the Fulton from April 27 through May 14, and Tim Slover's spring residency at the Writers House.
Julianne Homokay, Spring 2005
During the spring of 2005, professional playwright Julianne Homokay taught a playwrighting workshop for members of the Lancaster community which was co-sponsored by The Academy of Theatre at the Fulton and the Theater, Dance and Film Department. Homokay's play Judy Gray was produced at the College during her residency. Julianne Homokay, a graduate of the MFA Playwriting Program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, co-wrote a musical production of Around the World in Eighty Days, which premiered at the Fulton Opera House in the Spring of 2007. Her other plays include Friends, Lovers and Living Roanoke.
Over winter break in 2004-2005, middle school students from all over Lancaster did more than just play in the snow or watch cartoons. Many were busy contemplating the life, work, and influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. Franklin & Marshall's Office of Multicultural Affairs sponsored an essay writing contest for students from Reynolds and Lincoln Middle Schools and asked the Writers House community if we would provide judges for the contest. more...