NEW MSU INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT LITERATURE AND CREATIVE WRITING IN MICHIGAN
With its unique ability to create diverse spaces for interactive and collaborative learning, the Internet makes available a rich array of multimedia resources for educators, students, and the general public. The Michigan Writers Network is an initiative that uses these exceptional features of the Internet to strengthen the already thriving community of writers in this state, acting as a wide-ranging and community-building resource for public educators and writers in Michigan.
Funded by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and sponsored by MSU’s MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online, the Michigan Writers Network, is currently developing a range of multimedia resources for writers and teachers of creative writing and literature. MWN provides a space where people can share ideas, discuss the craft of writing, and learn about the interests and current work of other authors, with the primary goal of promoting awareness of an interest in creative writing in Michigan schools.
“It is our overall goal that this is a truly communal venture, and that the project is shaped by the Michigan writing community itself,” said Professor Mark Kornbluh, Director of MATRIX. Professor Anita Skeen, Department of English, currently acts as Academic Consultant for the project: “The Michigan Writers Network will be an invaluable resource for students, teachers, writers, and anyone interested in knowing what's going on with and in the Michigan community of writers,” she explained. “Through the magic of computer technology, you can click yourself into the middle of a poetry reading, listen to a writer being interviewed, or look up a challenging writing assignment for your next spare moment. You can find out what literary events are taking place in your community, and if there are none, get in touch with someone who's likely to be able to bring them your way.”
The “Michigan Writers Network” site has a wide variety of interactive features. In order that writer may engage fellow authors, the project has created listserv discussions that cover the genres of playrighting, screenplay writing, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and children’s literature. The “Featured Writer” section of the site highlights prominent Michigan authors, providing audiovisual presentations of poetry readings and original interview footage. Other features in development include a comprehensive calendar of events occurring in the state, detailing activities such as readings, workshops, awards, and competitions, and a resource page for writers of all levels providing pedagogical tools such as prompts, writing exercises, and suggestions for technique.
According to those involved developing the project, the most important goal of the MWN is to establish that concrete network which uses and shapes the site. To achieve this goal “we are currently working to publicize the features of the Network to the broader writing community” explained Joy Palmer, Project Coordinator, “Prominent writer Thomas Lynch graciously agreed to be the inaugural “Featured Writer” for the site, and now we have some excellent original material to show writers and educators in the state, we are mailing as many of these people as possible to alert them of the project, and to invite them to participate.” “We believe that the success of the Michigan Writers Network is dependent upon people who already work hard to facilitate the community of writers in their area,” commented Professor Dean Rehberger, Associate Director of MATRIX. “People can help us build this network by participating in our online discussions, submitting events in creative writing occurring in their community, contributing a favorite writing exercise, and most of all, by using and enjoying the site.”
Partners in this initiative are: MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online, the College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University, and The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI48823 Visit the website at http://www.michigan-writers.org
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