Today@Sam Article

Graduate Students To Read From Creative Work

May 3, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

Wynne Home 19[3]Written by: Scott Kaukonen

The Sam Houston State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing is pleased to announce the latest edition of the Wynne Home Readings.

Since 2008, the students enrolled in MFA Director Scott Kaukonen’s graduate creative writing workshops have been gathering around the antique table in the Wynne Home Arts Center’s formal dining room each week during the semester to critique each other’s work. At the end of each of those semesters, the students have opened the doors to the public to share in and celebrate the fruits of that labor.

On Tuesday May 7, and Wednesday May 8, this semester’s students will be giving readings from their work beginning at 5 p.m. each night. The readings are free and open to the public.

“The course this semester has been a creative nonfiction workshop,” Kaukonen said. “So we’ve been exploring the various forms the term—‘creative nonfiction’—can take, from the personal essay and the memoir, to the lyric essay and investigative journalism, to works that bend and blur our notions of genre and ‘appropriate’ forms. And we’ve had a lot of discussions about what’s permitted—just what do we mean by ‘nonfiction’ and how far can you—or should you—stretch that term.”

The featured writers this semester include Amanda Baboolal, Marilyn Comer, Jeremy Gentry, Jared Beldon Hanks, Bradley Ivey, Ashe Kulhanek, Samantha Padgett, Stephanie Savell, Kathryn Ulrich, Sarah Walker Wilkins and Ren Young.

“We’ve paid particular attention this semester to the joys, challenges, struggles, pleasures, difficulties and ethics of writing about family,” Kaukonen said. “For many writers, family is the root source of much of their work, even if it’s often funneled into other forms, or maybe disguised as fiction. But for the writer of creative nonfiction, for writers who set out to explore honestly and deeply their own families—immediate and extended, given and made, functional and dysfunctional—there’s no hiding. It’s out there, and sometimes it’s painful and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s almost too real to be true. But we’ve studied various approaches that can allow our students to get at those things that have often gnawed at them for as long as they can remember.”

The creative nonfiction workshop often requires a kind of vulnerability on the part of the students, especially if the work they’re doing bends toward memoir and the personal essay.

“It’s really a privilege,” Kaukonen said. “But it also impacts the dynamic of the classroom. It ends up feeling less like a classroom and more like a salon in which a group of writers have gathered to talk about the art and the craft of what they do.” 

For more information, contact Kaukonen (, 936.294.1407).


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