By Hilary Donatini
Professor Stephen Haven, Director of Ashland's MFA, agreed to answer some questions about the approaching residency—two weeks of intensive creative activity on AU's campus.
HD: What would you like to highlight about the upcoming residency? What would you like to share about particular visiting writers or faculty?
SH: For the first time since the start of the MFA Program in 2007 we have visiting writers in three rather than in only two genres. The novelist, short story writer (and poet) Patricia Henley will present a reading from her fiction on Sunday July 19 and a Craft Seminar on Monday July 20 (all MFA Summer Residency readings take place at 7:00 PM, with Craft Seminars every weekday afternoon at 1:00 PM). Then the celebrated poet, Patricia Smith, as fully known for her poetry performances as for the high quality of her writing, will read on Wednesday July 22 and present a Craft Seminar on Thursday July 23. Finally the novelist, short story writer, and memoirist Lee Martin will read from his nonfiction on Monday July 27 and present a Craft Seminar on Tuesday July 28. Patricia Smith and Patricia Henley have both been National Book Award finalists. Lee Martin has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
HD: Which events are open to the public?
SH: All 7:00 PM readings and all 1:00 PM Craft Seminars are open to the public. The only MFA Summer Residency events closed to the public are the small-group three-hour weekday-morning student workshops and graduating-student thesis defense sessions, usually held in the later afternoons.
HD: What else would you like to share about the MFA program?
SH: During the MFA Residency there are many wonderful readings and craft seminars by writers other than our three main visiting writers. There is a reading every Sunday and weekday nights at 7:00 PM and a Craft Seminar every weekday and Sunday afternoon, from Sunday July 19 through the final afternoon session, Friday July 31 (no evening reading on July 31). Some full-time Ashland University professors will be reading from their creative work, as well as Ashland University Honored Visiting faculty members who regularly teach in the MFA Program. There will also be three visiting editors who are also writers presenting readings and jointly taking part in a panel discussion on the digital age and the future of publishing, Saturday July 25, 10:00-12:00.
Honored Visiting faculty members and Ashland University MFA students come to campus for the two-week residency from about 25 different states. Students study online during the fall and spring semesters and take part in three Summer Residencies--one at the beginning of their two years in the program, one mid-way through the program, and one campus residency after completing their second year in the program, as students are preparing to graduate.
The full schedule of the 2015 Summer Residency events can be found here: