On Monday night, Merrimack College celebrated the Grand Opening of its new Writers House by welcoming students, faculty and staff, as well as invited guests to visit the space. The celebration included the Writers House first guest, three-time Rustbelt Regional Slam champion and winner of the Beatrice Hawley Award, Jamaal May.
Excitement mounted as the symbolic ribbon cutting officially opened the new creative space. Following the ceremony, all in attendance were invited to meet Jamaal May prior to his reading from his first book, Hum. The reading was followed by a book signing.
Located within the newly constructed Innovation Center, the Writers House is the first of its kind in New England. A multidisciplinary initiative, it promised to enliven the curriculum of all four schools at Merrimack: the Girard School of Business; the School of Liberal Arts; the School of Science and Engineering; and the School of Education. Students will have the opportunity to hear fiction writers, journalists, poets, scholars, filmmakers and others present and discuss their work. In the Writers House, students will also find a venue for creating and showcasing their own work for developing publications and designing writing projects that connect them with the wider community. The Writers House also offers our entire academic community a welcoming place to gather, talk, write, read, daydream, grapple, and to listen.
The newly hired director of the Writers House, Andrea Cohen, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the College. Cohen holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She also taught at UMass-Boston, The Fine Arts Center in Provincetown, and at Merrimack. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published widely in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, the Threepenny Review, and Poetry. Her fourth poetry collection is forthcoming. Cohen was a communications director at MIT for many years and is the director of the nationally renowned Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA.
Upcoming events at the Writers House include:
October 2 – 4:30 p.m. – Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Gail Caldwell, long-time chief book critic for The Boston Globe and author of three nonfiction books.
October 30 – 7:00 p.m. – U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky presents PoemJazz with musicians Stan Strickland and John Hobgood in Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel in Austin Hall.
All are welcome to join in these exciting events which showcase the College’s commitment to Distinction in Action!