Essential Pittsburgh: Words Without Walls Teaches Creative Writing to Inmates

Mar 24, 2015

Words Without Walls is a program at Chatham University teaching creative writing to residents of Pittsburgh-area correctional facilities and drug treatment centers.The instructors are students in Chatham’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Joining us in Studio A to discuss the program and a special book launch taking place this Friday are  MFA Program Director and Author, Sheryl St. Germain and Jonny Blevins, a student and instructor in the program.

Explaining her ambitions for the program, St. Germain says:

"It was not just the idea that we thought we could help people tell their own stories, and that would heal. Obviously that was really important, but it was also important for me as a director to get students from our program working with alternative populations. ... It's a way to get students to interact with members of the community." -- Sheryl St. Germain

Also in the program, Carnegie Mellon professor David Shumway talks about the upcoming Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, and business contributor Rebecca Harris explains the business impact of having a baby.


Pittsburgh Humanities Festival Preview (starts at 0:00)

The first Pittsburgh Humanities Festival opens this week. The Humanities Center of Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are hosting the event. Joining us with a preview of the festival and how it plans to heighten awareness of the humanities is David Shumway, CMU professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and director of the Humanities Center.

Asked why the Festival will be held at venues downtown instead of on a college campus, Shumway explains:

"Faculty and students on college campuses have more access to the humanities, of course, than most people: classes are available, there are fairly frequent lectures and discussions. So, we wanted to make this available to people who aren't regularly on college campuses, and we thought that people would be, perhaps, more comfortable not having to come to a college campus and sit in a classroom in order to experience these talks and presentations." -- David Shumway

Words Without Walls (starts at 14:52)

Words Without Walls is a program at Chatham University teaching creative writing to residents of Pittsburgh-area correctional facilities and drug treatment centers.The instructors are students in Chatham’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Joining us in Studio A to discuss the program and a special book launch taking place this Friday are  MFA Program Director and Author, Sheryl St. Germain and Jonny Blevins, a student and instructor in the program.

The Business of Babies (starts at 38:46)

After a long cold winter it might not be surprising to see an increase in the birth rate later this year. With those babies comes a need for products and services. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of babies and the trends that are hot in baby culture.

To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here