Dayton retreat: Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop offering writers a chance to win two-week residency in Dayton hotel

The University of Dayton Marriot Hotel, which will house two lucky humor writers as a part of "A Hotel Room of One's Own" in-residence program.
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The University of Dayton Marriot Hotel, which will house two lucky humor writers as a part of "A Hotel Room of One's Own" in-residence program. CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: A Hotel Room of One's Own

Over the course of two weeks in 2022, two lucky emerging humor writers will be given the opportunity that many writers only dream to realize — two weeks of complete solitude to pursue their craft.

This unconventional writers’ retreat is the brainchild of the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Called “A Hotel Room of One’s Own,” the in-residence program will reward two humor writers with an all-expenses-paid trip to Dayton where they will spend two weeks in a hotel room at the University of Dayton Marriot. Aside from spending hours putting figurative pen to paper, the in-residence participants can also enjoy the free room service, omelet bar, custom robes and stipend with which to enjoy all the inspiration that Dayton has to offer.

Additionally, the writers will be given free registration to the long-running Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop slated March 24-26, 2022. They will continue their residency for another two weeks until April 10.

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A poster to promote the University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop's in-residence program, "A Hotel Room of One's Own."
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A poster to promote the University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop's in-residence program, "A Hotel Room of One's Own." CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: A Hotel Room of One's Own

Credit: A Hotel Room of One's Own

Dubbed the “Woodstock of Humor,” the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop was originally founded in 2000 to foster the creativity of humor writers in the image of workshop namesake Erma Bombeck. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the legendary Daytonian wrote an incredibly popular syndicated newspaper humor column and published over a dozen books, becoming one of the most celebrated American humorists.

The in-residence program is the brainchild of comedy writer and novelist Anna Lefler. The program was first launched in 2018 in conjunction with the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and funded by Lefler. The in-residence program has been held every other year since 2018.

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“The chance to step away from your everyday responsibilities to concentrate on your humor writing AND unlimited tiny soaps?” said Lefler. “The comedy practically writes itself. I would be thrilled for this program to provide the catalyst for emerging comedy writers to break through with their art.”

Since launching in 2018, “A Hotel Room of One’s Own” has gained national attention from publications like Forbes, which called the program the “best writer’s residency in the country.” One of the most successful participants of the program is Karen Chee, a comedian and current writer for NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Former winners of "A Hotel Room of One's Own" in-residence program, Karen Chee and Samantha Schoech. CONTRIBUTED.
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Former winners of "A Hotel Room of One's Own" in-residence program, Karen Chee and Samantha Schoech. CONTRIBUTED.

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Applications to “A Hotel Room of One’s Own” will be accepted from Sept. 7-28 on the residency’s website. Those applying to the in-residence program are required to describe the writing project in which they intend to work on during the program and a writing sample of no more than 1,250 words. Given the fact that they are applying for a humor writing residency, the applicants are encouraged to use humor throughout their application to gain the favor of the judges. The applicants will be judged by Nancy Cartwright, best known as the voice of Bart Simpson, and Mike Reiss, writer on “The Simpsons” for three decades. The application fee will be $25 per person.

Two writers will be chosen from hundreds of applicants, though three other finalists and five honorable mentions will receive cash prizes of $250 and $100.

More information about the workshop can be found by visiting the in-residence program’s website.