UD To Host Biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

Sean Newhouse
Contributing Writer

A lot of funny people will descend onto the university’s River Campus from April 5-7 as part of the sold-out University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

The workshop brings together expert comedians and novices alike for a weekend of uproarious keynote speeches, enlightening boot camps and literary competition, among other events.

The workshop is named after Erma Bombeck, ’49, one of the most popular humorists of the twentieth century. Her syndicated column, At Wit’s End, focusing on the joyous triumphs and heartbreaking challenges of suburban motherhood was published in 900 newspapers across North America in the mid-1980s, and most of her 15 books became bestsellers. UD students can find a sign dedicated to her outside of St. Mary’s Hall.

Some notable quotes from her include, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it,” and “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

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Craig Ferguson, former host of the Late Late Show on CBS, will kick off the workshop with a keynote address. Further speakers include John Grogan, author of “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog and Monica Piper, an Emmy-winner and head writer of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon “Rugrats”.

Other events include a stand-up comedy boot camp with America’s Got Talent semi finalist Wendy Liebman and “Pitchapalooza,” where writers get one minute to pitch a book idea to a panel of judges. The winner gets an introduction with an agent or publisher.

This is the tenth anniversary of the workshop; the UD-hosted biennial event began in 2000.

It is co-sponsored by multiple organizations, including the University of Dayton Alumni Association, the College of Arts and Sciences, UD’s Bookstore, Writer’s Digest, Marriott at the University of Dayton and the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop Endowment.

There are a number of free scholarships available to UD students to attend the workshop.

One of Bombeck’s most heartfelt quotes is: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have as single bit of talent left, and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.”

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This workshop will enable participants to sharpen their talent and craft, while also honoring one of UD’s most prominent alumna and showcasing the university’s commitment to excellence in a variety of fields.

If you would like to be added to the workshop’s waitlist, you can visit: humorwriters.org/.

If interested, please send an email to Alan Abitbol, assistant professor of communication, at aabitbol1@udayton.edu. Students selected for the scholarships (value $450) will be contacted with directions on how to register. The deadline is Feb. 15.