Welcome to the 2009 Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute website! You can track our participants' progress here, looking at their Ruminations on the River.
In this year's Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute, paid for by funds from the John Ben Snow Foundation, to be held June 8-19 at Bucknell University, 10 students will be accepted to receive stipends and room accomodations to work with Bucknell faculty in an experiential exploration of the Susquehanna Valley region, particularly the river confluence, to develop and workshop creative-nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to produce a portfolio of writing inspired by our journeys into the real and imagined Susquehanna Valley.
The Susquehanna Confluence, the region around the joining of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna River, is of continental historical significance as the location of what was called "the capital of the eastern woodland Indians" and of settlements important to the early development of America, its industrialization, the presence of many cultures including historic African-American, Amish, and Eastern European communities, and now efforts to develop a more sustainable economic future.
The Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute will include10 outstanding students who will participate in 10 days of discussion, excursions, guest lectures, and workshops in order to enhance their understanding of the region as well as to develop their writing skills. The goal is for participants to engage in interviewing and writing non-fiction, fiction, and poetry related to place, history and environment, activities which can be of use in working for non-profits and public-sector programs, in developing longer personal writing projects, in teaching writing, history and place studies, and in contracting freelance writing and consulting work in the developing "green collar" sector of the economy. Writing projects from the institute will be featured on a new website/zine on the region.
Participating students will be working with Bucknell faculty Alf Siewers, Katie Faull, and Carmen Gillespie to develop and workshop creative-nonfiction, fiction, and poety using a technique known as "deep mapping" (personal mapping of places)in as generated by our excursions into and explorations of the Susquehanna confluence region. The two weeks will include a day of kayaking on the river, field trips to historical and natural places of significance on the river including river towns, paths of the underground railroad and the coal region. Students will also have the pleasure of interacting with guest lecture, people from the community, and relevant texts and documentaries.
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