The English Department at Oklahoma City University next month will host the inaugural Smokewood Institute for Young Writers, an intensive two-week program of writing workshops, craft sessions, creative readings and a culminating anthology of student work. The program will run from July 6 through 19 on the OCU campus.
English professors Rob Roensch and Karen Schiler will guide students through a curriculum that consists of a complete Introductory Creative Writing course. Beyond the classroom, students will spend time participating in creative outings through partner programs on campus and around the city, including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Oklahoma History Center.
Serious students working in any genre, of varying styles, are welcome. To be eligible, students must have completed at least their sophomore year of high school, and certain test scores and GPA levels may be required.
Roensch has an MFA in creative writing from Cornell University, and he has experience teaching at the high school and college levels. His short story collection, “The Wildflowers of Baltimore,” won the International Scott Prize for Short Stories in 2012.
Schiler has a doctorate in composition and rhetoric, and she worked as editor of The Southern California Anthology. From 2010 through 2012 she directed the Drew University Ranger Writers program for college students interested in writing novels, poetry and screenplays.
The institute is named after Elaine Smokewood, a popular OCU English professor who was diagnosed with a neurological disease. Despite losing the ability to talk, Smokewood taught classes via state-of-the-art remote teaching technology during the last couple of years of her life before she passed away in 2011.