After 33 years, a Dayton program to support, educate and inspire local writers is ending.
And this week, there will be a farewell celebration.
The Antioch Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton announced in March that it will close its doors this year. The AWW has offered creative writing workshops, seminars and retreats year-round to poetry, fiction and nonfiction writers.
In the meantime, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at Eudora Brewing Company (3022 Wilmington Pike, Kettering), the board of the Antioch Writers' Workshop invites writers and friends of the workshop to come celebrate its legacy at this public event. The casual gathering will include light hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. Learn more about the event on Facebook.
“One of the great joys of being affiliated with the workshop, and of my writing life, has been seeing all the wonderful ways in which writers connect in the Greater Dayton area — not only through the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, but through the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Word’s Worth Writing Center, programs at our numerous and wonderful library systems as well as at our local colleges and universities,” wrote Sharon Short, Dayton Daily News Literary Life columnist and former director of the workshop.
WHY IS THE WORKSHOP ENDING?
“The workshop has a tremendous legacy, but it’s no longer financially sustainable,” said TJ Turner, president of Antioch’s all-volunteer board of trustees and author of three novels, in a news release.
“Our enrollment for the weeklong summer program — the lifeblood of our operation — has declined in recent years. Private support and grants have not made up the difference, so the board, taking its fiduciary responsibility seriously, made the difficult decision to discontinue programs.”
Two years ago, the workshop entered into a partnership with the University of Dayton, which provided classroom and office space. During this time, the workshop maintained its independent 501c3 non-profit status. Its budget relied on registration fees, grants and fundraising.
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The workshop was formerly aligned with Antioch University Midwest from 2009 to 2016. It was founded in 1986 and incorporated in 1991.
“We’re grateful for the support of UD and all of our partners throughout our proud history,” Turner said in the news release. “We’re particularly appreciative of the tireless work of Sharon Short, who directed the workshop for a decade; Cyndi Pauwels, who served as assistant director; and all the faculty who taught and mentored writers. You have made a difference.”
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The Antioch Writers’ Workshop began in 1986 with a summer program at Antioch College serving writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction in the region and from across the United States. AWW became a 501c3 non-profit in 1991, holding summer programs at Antioch College, Antioch University Midwest, and various locations in Yellow Springs, as well as other programs at Books & Co. at The Greene in Dayton and retreats throughout Ohio.
Authors who have taught at the workshop and speakers have included luminaries such as Joyce Carole Oates, Sue Grafton, William Least Heat Moon, Elizabeth Strout, Roxane Gay, John Grogan, Nikki Giovanni, Connie Schultz and Ralph Keyes.