CHESS Creative Writing Showcase

This January, the Roosevelt University Creative Writing MFA Program hosted a spectacular showcase of students, alumni, faculty and local writers at the American Writers Museum. Hosted by program director and professor Jessica Chiang, the event featured 13 different writers of numerous genres, each sharing short excerpts from their selected works. The pieces varied in every imaginable aspect. From prose to poetry to playwriting, each writer took turns playing with humor, longing, fantasy or sometimes defying genre entirely. The individual pieces were so diverse in tone and style that, collectively, the group made for a wholly nourishing program.

The 13 readers were comprised of members from the Roosevelt community as well as the local Chicago writing community. Creative Writing MFA students Ryan Amare, Becky Curl, Brian Foster and Emma Shankman each delighted the audience with their selected readings. Each author presented something different. There were samplings from developing fiction projects as well as selections from master’s theses. The MFA candidates were in good company with several University alumni. They included Kaleena Madruga ‘20, Lori Rader-Day ‘09, Joe Schupbach ‘21 and Paul Waldhart, who will receive his MFA in December of 2024. Faculty advisor for the University’s literary magazine Oyez Review, Joshua Bohnsack, also contributed with his own selected piece to read. The group was rounded out by several friends of the program, including writers Hart Lang, Michael Podlasek Kent and Anca L. Szilágyi. Another author who presented that night was Colby Flade, who celebrated his birthday by reading from his latest book. The showcase was thoughtfully slated, with realism following fantasy and melancholy preceding harmony. 

All of this was made possible by the dedication of the Creative Writing program and convenient location of the Chicago campus. The reception and reading took place in Readers Hall in Chicago’s American Writers Museum, the “only museum devoted to American writers and their works.” Dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences Gina Buccola was also in attendance, and had this to say about the event:

"As Creative Writing Program Director Jessica Chiang noted in closing out the January event, we tell students all of the time that Chicago is our campus. The fact that we are able to partner with an amazing local institution like the American Writers Museum just a short walk from our downtown campus to publicly showcase the work of our alumni, faculty and current students illustrates the value that the city itself adds to our MFA program. Our warm and wonderful community of writers lives in the center of a much larger and wider community of working writers with whom we are able to collaborate and network on a regular basis.”

Spirits were high as the night ended. Before everyone dispersed, program director Jessica announced the Creative Writing department’s upcoming events. Poet Tara Betts will be giving a reading on February 21, and writers Kathleen Rooney and Suzanne Scanlon will be reading together on April 25. For more information about these upcoming events, please contact program director Jessica Anne Chiang. There’s something for every admirer of writing at a Roosevelt University Creative Writing event. 

Related News ...

Mick McMahon

Taught by Mick McMahon, the English course examines future anxieties related to the government, environment and technology.

Ana Raquel Jimenez

The American Dream Reconsidered course takes a deep dive into the cultural phenomenon known as the "American Dream" and considers how attainable the American Dream really is.

Roosevelt Psychology Senior Ely Adams

Psychology student Ely Adams will spend his spring semester in the Netherlands to conclude his undergraduate courses.