Story Week receives 3-year grant

By Megan Purazrang

Columbia’s Fiction Writing Department was granted new funding support for this semester’s Story Week Festival of Writers, an event that draws a diverse group of writers to the campus to help student writers find a voice through readings, conversation and author Q-and-As.

Beginning this semester, the department will receive $9,000 annually until 2016 from the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, an association that supports performing and visual arts through grants.

According to Fiction Writing Department Chair Randall Albers, the department was overjoyed when they learned of the grant.

“[It] is a great boost for the whole Story Week effort, and we have been seeking more outside funding,” Albers said. “I hope [the grant] sets Story Week on a very good footing for the next few years.”

Greg Baldino, faculty member in the Fiction Writing Department, assisted Linda Naslund, an administrator in the department with applying for the grant. Naslund worked with the budget figurations that were presented to the grantor, Deborah Siegel, Albers’ assistant who also helped with proofreading and counsel. Cynthia Thomas, director of Foundation and Government Grants for Institutional Advancement, as well as Bea Rodriguez, manager of Government Grants and Institutional Advancement, acted as overall advisers, according to Naslund.

“It is genuinely a great honor for The Story Week Festival to be recognized by the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, which is, after all, the nation’s premiere arts funding organization,” said Kathryn Bergquist, managing director of Story Week.

This spring will mark the 17th annual Story Week Festival of Writers. The event runs from March 17–22.

According to Columbia’s website, some of this year’s featured writers include: Sapphire, Gillian Flynn, T. Geronimo Johnson, Jane Hamilton, Audrey Niffenegger, Emma Donoghue, Adam McOmber, Joe Meno, Susan Hahn and Susan Hahn.

“I think [the grant is] not just a testament to the work that has gone into building Story Week, which is now the second largest literary festival in the state after Printers Row and has been a work-in-progress over the past 17 years; but it also provides the incentive to continue creating excellent Story Week programming in the future,” Bergquist said.

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