The 2017 Dayton Region's Walk of Fame induction ceremony at Sinclair Community College. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, the creator of "Cathy," was inducted. Photo by Amelia Robinson

Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop postponed until fall

Concerns about coronavirus impact literary event

***UPDATE (March 12, 2020)***

  The University of Dayton has postponed the April 2-4, 2020, Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop until the fall in response to concerns about COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.

"The vast majority of our attendees and speakers are traveling nationally and abroad for the workshop. Though we've taken a number of precautions and believe the risk of transmission is low, we are taking this preventative step out of vigilance and caution," said Teri Rizvi, executive director of strategic communications who founded and directs the popular workshop that draws 350 writers.

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, currently sold out, has been rescheduled for Oct. 29-31. For registered attendees, the registration fee will be transferred allowing them to attend the workshop this fall. A refund will be granted for those who would like one. To request a refund, please contact the University of Dayton's conference services staff at before April 2. Full refunds will be processed by April 4. At that time, the waitlist will reopen, and the workshop’s standard 75 percent cancellation fee will be available through Oct. 1. 

"The roster of keynoters and presenters may change, but we hope that most of their schedules will accommodate these new dates. All five of the original keynoters have verbally committed to joining us in the fall," Rizvi said. "And while we're disappointed by the workshop's postponement, we're so very grateful for the support of the writing community and look forward to welcoming writers to a long weekend filled with much laughter and learning in the fall."

***ORIGINAL STORY (Dec. 11, 2019)***

Online registration for the popular biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop opens at noon (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 12, with links that will be shared via social media and the workshop’s free e-newsletter, available for subscription at

The late Erma Bombeck, from Dayton, became a beloved columnist and author. The University of Dayton hosts a writers’ workshop in her name. FILE/CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

The workshop registrations typically sell out within hours, so be sure to prepare by subscribing to the e-newsletter and following the workshop on Facebook

>> Erma Bombeck: 5 things to know about the beloved humorist

The 2020 workshop will be April 2-4, 2020, at the University of Dayton. The workshop will celebrate its 20th anniversary.  

>> PHOTOS: Erma Bombeck through the years

Teri Rizvi founded the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in 2000. CONTRIBUTED

“From top to bottom, this slate of keynoters and faculty is exceptional. I’m humbled by the talented people willing to be part of this magical workshop,” says Teri Rizvi, executive director of strategic communications at UD, and founder and director of the workshop. “It’s hard to believe we started this workshop 20 years ago, never imagining how it would touch the lives of writers. It’s been a privilege to shepherd it, build it — and use it as the vehicle to sustain Erma’s remarkable legacy.” 

Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite will appear at Books & Co. at The Greene on Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

Headlining the workshop will be Emmy Award-winner Cathy Guisewite, creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip, which at its peak appeared in 1,400 newspapers. In 2019, the Dayton native published a funny memoir, “Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault: Essays From the Grown-Up Years.” 

>> Dayton native was the force behind a beloved cartoon character who entertained the country for decades

Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite started doodling self-portraits of her life and sent them to her mother who prodded her to get them in front of a wider audience. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Besides Guisewite, the workshop’s all-star keynoter line-up includes: 

>> Famed cartoonist thanks Dayton for helping her become who she is today

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Actress and author Annabelle Gurwitch signs copies of her book following the "I See You Made An Effort" event based on the book by Annabelle Gurwitch on March 10, 2014 at Second Stage Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

• Annabelle Gurwitch, New York Times’ bestselling author of four books, actress, essayist and storyteller. She was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing in 2015. The original co-host for “Dinner and a Movie” on TBS, she has appeared in numerous television and film projects.  

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Wendy Liebman attends "America's Got Talent" season 9 post show red carpet event at Radio City Music Hall on August 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

• Wendy Liebman, stand-up comedian who has performed on late-night shows — from Carson to Kimmel — and appeared in comedy specials on HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime. She was a semifinalist on “America’s Got Talent.”  

DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 06: Writer Mike Reiss during a reception after the Qumra Talks on Writing and Producing Animation on day four of Qumra, the third edition of the industry event by the Doha Film Institute dedicated to the development of emerging filmmakers on March 6, 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Doha Film Institute )
Photo: Tim P. Whitby

• Mike Reiss, Emmy Award-winning writer for “The Simpsons” and author of “Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons” and 19 children’s books.  

Humor writer Peggy Rowe and her TV personality son, Mike Rowe. Submitted

• Peggy Rowe, who at the age of 80, wrote and published a New York Times’ bestseller, “About My Mother.” A social-media sensation, she counts more than 115,000 readers of her daily Facebook postings. Her letters and texts to her celebrity son, Mike Rowe, have reached millions. 


The Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, hosted by UD and the Washington-Centerville Library, will award several scholarships for the workshop. The competition is open for entries now through Jan. 6, 2020. Learn more at