Oklahoma City University | English Department Hosts Summer Camp for… Skip to content

English Department Hosts Summer Camp for High School Writers

Smokewood logo

Elaine Smokewood
Elaine Smokewood

The English Department at Oklahoma City University this summer will host the 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 9 through 22 on the OKCU 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.

Mass communications major Zoe Travers said her experience in the Smokewood Institute last year as a high school senior prepared her for college.

“Taking a college course that is condensed to fit into a two-week schedule involves a lot of hard work, but the experience of living in a dorm and being with hard-working people helps keep you grounded,” Travers said. “Not only do you get to experience the workload of college and the academic atmosphere, but you also get a lot of camaraderie with your peers, just like college.”

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. The deadline for scholarship consideration has been extended to April 28.

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. 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 OKCU English professor who was diagnosed with a neurological disease. Despite losing the ability to talk, Smokewood taught classes via remote teaching technology during the last couple of years of her life before she passed away in 2011.

For more information, visit the program webpage or contact Schiler at [email protected].

Back to all news
Back to Top