The new Trias Residency for Writers at HWS was the subject of a Finger Lakes
Times article that posed, “Could the next great American novel be written or even set on the shores of Seneca Lake?”
The residency, which begins next fall, will work to bring writers to campus to work with English students.
“There are so many things that will inevitably come of this program that aren’t visible. It will increase a sense of connection between [the Colleges] and writing,” Conroy Goldman is quoted.
The full story with information about the program follows.
Finger Lakes Times
HWS creates writer-in-residency program
SEAN McCRACKEN October 12, 2010
GENEVA – Could the next great American novel be written or even set on the shores of Seneca Lake?
The English Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is hoping so with the creation of the new Trias Residency for Writers, which will begin next fall.
The program, funded in perpetuity by a grant from alumnus Peter Trias, aims to bring in a writer of “national or international reputation” to work with English students at the Colleges while spending part of the school year in Geneva.
Department chair Melanie Conroy-Goldman said the program is being planned on a five year arc to attract increasingly noteworthy writers.
The writer will be required to live in Geneva during the fall semester at a home provided by the Colleges. He or she will lead workshops, work with students at the Colleges’ literary journal “The Seneca Review” and host public readings for the greater community.
The writer also will be required to lead a reading series featuring two other authors and participate in a community service event of his or her choosing.
The writer in residency won’t be required to live in the city during the spring semester but must continue to maintain contact with students and have some regular visits to Geneva to meet with students and lead a public lecture.
Writers will remain in residency for only two semesters before someone new is chosen.
Applications for the residency are open until the beginning of November, but, Conroy-Goldman said, winners of major writing awards already have expressed interest.
Any applicant is required to have at least two published books, teaching ability and a selection of positive reviews of their work.
She hopes that the program ends up being a growth engine for both the Colleges and her department.
“There are so many things that will inevitably come of this program that aren’t visible. It will increase a sense of connection between [the Colleges] and writing,” Conroy Goldman said.
She said she expects residency finalists to be narrowed by January, with the winner determined by the end of February. The program is open to writers of both fiction and nonfiction as well as poets.
Conroy-Goldman said organizers hope to land someone “thoughtful about the act of writing.”
She recognizes while they hope to attract someone who will be somewhat familiar to people who regularly read the New York Times Book Review, it is unlikely a huge name in popular fiction will be interested.
“The truth is [extremely wealthy writers] are not going to come,” Conroy-Goldman said.
She said the position, which pays $70,000, most likely will appeal to writers in one of three categories: someone looking to add teaching to their résumé; someone with a solid literary reputation who does not make enough money writing to support themselves and their families; or someone seeking additional time and a new venue to write.
Conroy-Goldman said the latter is going to be a huge draw to the program and hopes it leads to Geneva becoming an epicenter in writing culture and possibly the setting in some works of fiction.
“I think 10 years from now we’ll see Geneva in the acknowledgments [of some books],” Conroy-Goldman said.
The department has been reaching out to writers regionally and nationally, even advertising for the position at a recent literary convention. Authors whose works are primarily in languages other than English may apply, as long as they can include translated portions of their works in their residency.
“We’re looking for the best fit,” Conroy-Goldman said.
Trias graduated from Hobart in 1970 before earning a master’s of fine arts degree in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1972 and publishing a collection of poems in 1976.
For more information on the residency, visit www.hws.edu/trias.