Take a virtual tour of the ECCW

[youtube width=”570″ height=”320″]http://youtu.be/iLuIyj9Dkbw[/youtube]

Since December 2011, the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing has been the central hub of Butler’s MFA program. Thanks to a $1-million grant from the Efroymson Family Fund, the department purchased a home on the corner of Hampton and Sunset and remodeled the building to include an apartment and several large rooms for readings and discussion groups. Throughout the year, the ECCW is the home for writers-in-residence, visiting authors, and both graduate and undergraduate workshops. The Center’s dark wood walls and built-in shelves create a warm and intimate setting, which is a nice alternative to the formality of larger venues. To utilize the space, the MFA program has designed a new public reading series called conversations@efroymson that features more interactive events featuring writers from a wide range of genres, including screenwriting, digital storytelling, blogging, graphic novels, spiritual writing, and more as a complement to the long-running Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Walking into the Efroymson Center is a bit like walking into a friend’s house. Downstairs, the rooms are all business, with studying and discussion spaces in a clean, classical environment. Past the kitchen, the Center has a fully-furnished apartment to house visiting writers and lecturers. Former Butler MFA faculty member and current Brooklyn-based poet Micah Ling recently stayed at the ECCW while working at Butler’s summer Creative Writing Camp. Ling described the Center’s accommodations as “pretty awesome,” which is the consensus of current faculty, staff, and students as well.

The Efroymson Center for Creative Writing also earned a prestigious name drop from a local arts and entertainment publication last week. NUVO Newsweekly released their highly-anticipated Best of Indy list, an annual contest voted on by NUVO readers. This year, readers voted Butler University as the Best Local College/University, with a special shout-out from the editors to both the Visiting Writers Series and the ECCW: “Its authors’ series continues to bring in some of the best and brightest across poetry and prose, some of whom end up stopping by the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing for an in-depth workshop or additional talk.”

Perhaps the best part about the Center is that Butler’s writers finally get a place to call home. Writing can be a laborious and mercurially frustrating way to spend your energy, but the process somehow seems more friendly and toothsome in an environment dedicated to that pursuit. The ECCW sits politely just outside the boundary of campus proper and waits for students to flee the tumult of the more populated areas for the tranquility of being surrounded by peers, books, professors, and visiting writers. Consider it the windowed reading nook of Butler’s campus–a kind of “natural habitat” for writers and readers to gather. It has all the necessary ingredients: the wood, the darkness, the smell of aging paper, and a calm that inspires a sense of tranquil determination–all the necessary ingredients for finally tackling that last (or first) paragraph.

The Efroymson Center proves priceless whenever MFA students gather for a graduation party or a visiting author feels a sense of home instead of experiencing another impersonal hotel room stay. In a short time, the ECCW has already become another symbol of the generosity of spirit that permeates Butler University and the city of Indianapolis, as well as a constant reminder that the community loves great writing as much as we do.

Take a virtual tour of the ECCW

[youtube width=”570″ height=”320″]http://youtu.be/iLuIyj9Dkbw[/youtube]

Since December 2011, the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing has been the central hub of Butler’s MFA program. Thanks to a $1-million grant from the Efroymson Family Fund, the department purchased a home on the corner of Hampton and Sunset and remodeled the building to include an apartment and several large rooms for readings and discussion groups. Throughout the year, the ECCW is the home for writers-in-residence, visiting authors, and both graduate and undergraduate workshops. The Center’s dark wood walls and built-in shelves create a warm and intimate setting, which is a nice alternative to the formality of larger venues. To utilize the space, the MFA program has designed a new public reading series called conversations@efroymson that features more interactive events featuring writers from a wide range of genres, including screenwriting, digital storytelling, blogging, graphic novels, spiritual writing, and more as a complement to the long-running Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Walking into the Efroymson Center is a bit like walking into a friend’s house. Downstairs, the rooms are all business, with studying and discussion spaces in a clean, classical environment. Past the kitchen, the Center has a fully-furnished apartment to house visiting writers and lecturers. Former Butler MFA faculty member and current Brooklyn-based poet Micah Ling recently stayed at the ECCW while working at Butler’s summer Creative Writing Camp. Ling described the Center’s accommodations as “pretty awesome,” which is the consensus of current faculty, staff, and students as well.

The Efroymson Center for Creative Writing also earned a prestigious name drop from a local arts and entertainment publication last week. NUVO Newsweekly released their highly-anticipated Best of Indy list, an annual contest voted on by NUVO readers. This year, readers voted Butler University as the Best Local College/University, with a special shout-out from the editors to both the Visiting Writers Series and the ECCW: “Its authors’ series continues to bring in some of the best and brightest across poetry and prose, some of whom end up stopping by the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing for an in-depth workshop or additional talk.”

Perhaps the best part about the Center is that Butler’s writers finally get a place to call home. Writing can be a laborious and mercurially frustrating way to spend your energy, but the process somehow seems more friendly and toothsome in an environment dedicated to that pursuit. The ECCW sits politely just outside the boundary of campus proper and waits for students to flee the tumult of the more populated areas for the tranquility of being surrounded by peers, books, professors, and visiting writers. Consider it the windowed reading nook of Butler’s campus–a kind of “natural habitat” for writers and readers to gather. It has all the necessary ingredients: the wood, the darkness, the smell of aging paper, and a calm that inspires a sense of tranquil determination–all the necessary ingredients for finally tackling that last (or first) paragraph.

The Efroymson Center proves priceless whenever MFA students gather for a graduation party or a visiting author feels a sense of home instead of experiencing another impersonal hotel room stay. In a short time, the ECCW has already become another symbol of the generosity of spirit that permeates Butler University and the city of Indianapolis, as well as a constant reminder that the community loves great writing as much as we do.

Camp leaves lasting impression

writing camp

June in Butler’s English Department means only one thing: Creative Writing Camp. For the teachers and mentors, this means two straight weeks of nothing but hanging out with kids who love writing and reading. Campers, ranging from third- to twelfth-graders, are guided through exciting, challenging, and engaging workshops with the end goals of having fun with language, practicing their writing skills, and getting some insider knowledge from working writers and professors. The campers get to experience all avenues of professional writing, from slam poetry to playwriting, and they get to explore the ways writing crosses over into other humanities, like history and art. Camp mentors, usually Butler English undergraduates and MFA students, lead daily hour-long workshops on topics as varied as “Exquisite Corpse” poetry to creating the best 100-word flash fiction stories. Author and MFA adjunct Ben Winters had his 8th and 9th grade students fill out tournament “brackets” that pitted the poetic stylings of Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, and Robert Frost against each other (Mr. Shakespeare won the class over with his iambic pentameter). At the end of each day, campers are encouraged to share their works with their peers to grow their public speaking skills and confidence. The week concludes with each camper reading their favorite work aloud to their parents and peers.

To see student work, check out the Camp’s blog. The Creative Writing Camp is part of the Butler Bridge program, which runs year-round activities for young writers. For more information on how to get involved with Bridge or the Creative Writing Camp, contact Annie Minnich-Beck or Chris Speckman.

Lynn’s second novel hits shevles

allison_web-1allison_lynnButler MFA Faculty Allison Lynn released her second novel, The Exiles, on July 2. Lynn’s first novel, Now You See It, won both the William Faulkner Award and the Bronx Chapter One Prize in 2004. Lynn came to Indianapolis by way of New York City, where she recently taught fiction at NYU’s Creative Writing program—of which she is also an MFA graduate. In the fall, she will be teaching a prose workshop at Butler and generally classing up the MFA program along with her husband, Michael Dahlie, author of The Best of Youth and The Gentleman’s Guide for Graceful Living.

Lynn’s essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, People Magazine, In Style, Post Road, and elsewhere.

Lynn’s second novel hits shevles

allison_web-1allison_lynnButler MFA Faculty Allison Lynn released her second novel, The Exiles, on July 2. Lynn’s first novel, Now You See It, won both the William Faulkner Award and the Bronx Chapter One Prize in 2004. Lynn came to Indianapolis by way of New York City, where she recently taught fiction at NYU’s Creative Writing program—of which she is also an MFA graduate. In the fall, she will be teaching a prose workshop at Butler and generally classing up the MFA program along with her husband, Michael Dahlie, author of The Best of Youth and The Gentleman’s Guide for Graceful Living.

Lynn’s essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, People Magazine, In Style, Post Road, and elsewhere.

Winters entertains at Indy reading

winters post

Butler MFA professor Ben Winters debuted his second novel in The Last Policeman trilogy, Countdown City, at a reading at Big Hat Books. The series’ first novel won the 2013 Edgar Award, given to the best mystery novel of the year. Ben Winters has also written a number of YA and children’s novels. This fall, he will lead a prose workshop in the MFA program.16046748

Both The Last Policeman and Countdown City are available at Big Hat Books in Broad Ripple and other book retailers nationwide.