The Roosevelt University Reading Series allows students to hear some of the best writing being produced in the nation today. The public readings are just the beginning, though, since authors also visit the writing workshops to read and critique works-in-progress by degree candidates, discuss craft, and offer advice on publishing, agents, and other aspects of a professional writer’s life. These interactions provide students with new critical perspectives, the opportunity to expand their connections in the world of letters, and new literary voices against which to measure their own endeavors. Integral to the series are the readings by creative writing faculty and MFA candidates, which offer students the opportunity to present their work to the community and build their skills as public performers.
In addition to readings, the series sponsors innovative short workshops to spur the creativity of our graduate students. For example, the staff of Stories on Stage, a popular literary program on WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, recently offered a two-part workshop on presenting one’s own literary work to a live audience. The Neo-Futurists, an award-winning Chicago performance troupe, presented a hands-on, two-part creativity workshop demonstrating ways in which to transform autobiographical material into art, whether the genre is playwriting, fiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Such innovative programming is the hallmark of Roosevelt’s Creative Writing Program. Students are required to participate actively in the reading series as part of their advancement to the degree.