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"Rethinking our Writing, Rewriting our Thinking"

From ASU News

Workshops aim to help academic writers connect with public

 A series of writing workshops designed to help academic authors deliver their message – and the depth of their research – to the public begins this month on the ASU Tempe campus.

“Rethinking Our Writing, Rewriting Our Thinking,” are free and open to ASU faculty and staff, though the first one is also open to graduate students.

That workshop – “How to translate your work for a larger audience, with integrity to your subject” – is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., Feb. 23, in the Memorial Union, Alumni Room, on ASU’s Tempe campus. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve a seat, contact Alexis.Valianos@asu.edu">Alexis.Valianos@asu.edu.

Presenters scheduled for the Feb. 23 workshop include David Fugate, president of LaunchBooks Literary Agency; Joel Garreau, former reporter and editor at the Washington Post, and the Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Melissa Pritchard, professor of English and women’s studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Stephen Pyne, Regents’ Professor, School of Life Sciences; and Edward Sylvester, professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“The idea behind the workshop series is to help ASU faculty and staff make the transition from their academic writing to writing for the public, reaching broader and more diverse audiences,” said one of the coordinators, Lee Gutkind, founding editor of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction. Gutkind is also a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a distinguished writer in residence at the ASU Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.

He planned the workshop series with Sarah “Amira” De la Garza, an author and associate professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

“The first workshop features ASU faculty members who have been able to make the transition from the academy to a larger audience through books and magazines,” Gutkind said.

Three more workshops in the series, exclusively for faculty and staff, are planned this spring. The next two – March 8 and April 13 – will include helpful conversations about the craft of writing, mostly creative nonfiction techniques, said Gutkind. They will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in Coor Hall, room 5536.

The March 8 workshop is on the importance of narrative and telling your story vividly and responsibly, Gutkind said. The guest speaker is Pagan Kennedy, an author and Dartmouth University professor, whose topic is translating work for op-ed pages.

The April 13 workshop is on making memoir, biography and autobiography (telling someone else’s story, ethically and accurately). The guest speaker is Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, a television documentary producer and author of “The Knock at the Door: A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide.”

“The fourth workshop, on May 6, will be especially interesting and feature literary agents and editors who will talk about marketing and publishing,” Gutkind said. “They also will listen to ideas about books and essays from our faculty and staff.”

The May 6 workshop will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., in the Empty Space, a black box theater at 970 E. University Drive, Tempe.

“In this workshop series, we want to increase the audience for the knowledge that is created by academics,” said Linda Lederman, dean of social sciences at ASU. “What is written in academic circles often stays, or is read, only in academic circles. We want to change that.”

“Rethinking Our Writing, Rewriting Our Thinking” is sponsored by the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (Initiative for Innovative Inquiry); Institute for Social Science Research; Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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