Valerie Laken, the winner of the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH) “Dancing in the Rain” fellowship for writers of young adult and children’s literature, will facilitate a workshop at the Clear Spring School in Eureka Springs as her community outreach project. “Redefinitions: Getting into the Dictionary,” will be held on Friday, October 28, with 17 students from seventh through tenth grades. WCDH Assistant Director, Jeanne Glass said, “We are excited to partner with the Clear Spring School to offer this workshop and share an appreciation of the written word with Eureka Springs youth”
“Redefinitions: Getting into the Dictionary” will examine the Complete, Unabridged Little & Ives Webster Dictionary and Home Reference Library from 1957. Students will explore options to update or invent a definition, write something new inspired by what they find on the page, paint or draw from inspiration by a word or illustration, and learn how to rebind the pages together as a new dictionary. Clear Spring School Director Jessica Fitzpatrick said, “A core element of Clear Spring School is collaboration with the community. Learning is about ‘doing real things’ and working with people who practice their craft. We are excited to welcome the community back into our campus and are excited about this upcoming workshop.”
Valerie Laken is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of the story collection, Separate Kingdoms, and the novel, Dream House. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and has taught at the college level for twenty years, receiving awards both for her writing and her teaching. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Chicago Tribune, The Writer, and elsewhere. As the winner of the “Dancing in the Rain” fellowship, Laken will receive a two-week residency at WCDH, where she will be working on a YA (young adult) graphic novel entitled “Situation C.” The novel takes the form of a high school girl’s sketchbook and spans three tumultuous days when students are forced to shelter in place in the basement of their school by teachers who will not explain the source of the alleged danger. It explores complex and troubling issues that affect us all: the warping effects of terror and school violence; the ways communities in distress can fracture into factions; the costs of protective vigilance; and the risk of authoritarianism emerging out of catastrophe.
The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to nurture writers of all genres, backgrounds, and levels of experience in a supportive environment that builds community, energizes creative expression, stimulates new thinking, and optimizes productivity. Since opening its doors to writers in 2000, the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow has made a lasting impact on the arts and literary communities hosting over 1,700 writers from 48 states and 13 countries. For more information, please visit www.writerscolony.org or call Michelle Hannon or Jeanne Glass at (479)253-7444.
Michelle Hannon, Executive Director
or Jeanne Glass, Assistant Director
The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow
515 Spring Street
Eureka Springs, AR 72632