Fun, Happy, Magical Theatre with WITS Writer Elizabeth Keel

Posted April 22, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

WITS writer Elizabeth Keel, chosen by the Houston Press as one of the 100 Creatives of 2012, is excited to present a night of two new one-act plays as the 14 Pews Artist-In-Residence.

Performances of THE PSYCHIC PALACE and THE RAINBOW LANDS are April 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29, and May 2, 3, & 4.  Tickets are $10 for general public and $8 for 14 Pews members, seniors and students. Click here for more information.

THE PSYCHIC PALACE is a feisty romantic comedy about two psychics who struggle with knowing plenty about the future and not nearly enough about love.

THE RAINBOW LANDS is a charming family drama that summons the forgotten magic of childhood back into the present day lives of two sisters.

Come enjoy an evening of fun, happy, magical theatre!

Elizabeth A. M. Keel is a native Houstonian playwright, actor, director, teacher, and novelist. Her plays have been produced by Fresh Produce’d (NY), Big Head Productions, Mildred’s Umbrella, the Nova Arts Project, Scriptwriters/Houston, Bootown, and the University of Houston. She has studied playwriting with Edward Albee, Mark Bly, Mark Medoff, Lanford Wilson, and Stuart Ostrow, and fiction writing at the University of Houston and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Her first novel, Running Into Trouble, was published in 2010. Elizabeth also teaches playwriting and other workshops for the Alley Theatre and creative writing to younger students via Writers in the Schools.

The UH Honors College Presents 2013 Common Ground Teachers Institute

Posted April 19, 2013 & filed under Notebook.


Here is an exciting and free professional development opportunity for teachers in the Houston area! Join Writers in the Schools (WITS) as we partner with the University of Houston Honors College to offer the 2013 Common Ground Teachers Institute on June 28, July 1-3, and July 8-12, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. each day.

The Common Ground Teachers Institute pairs teaching faculty at the University of Houston and teachers of English from secondary schools for a series of inspirational workshops and seminars. Teachers can earn up to 30 credit hours of Gifted and Talented (G/T) certification.

Please visit for more information about the institute, a reservation form, and full descriptions of our 2013 seminars.

Seminar offerings for 2013 include “My Own Private Wilderness: Reading and Writing the Natural World” by WITS writer Lacy M. Johnson and “Metamorphosis: Some Things Change, and Some Never Do” by UH-Downtown professor and WITS writer Merrilee Cunningham.

Activities take place in the Honors College, located on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library on the University of Houston campus.

Underwriting by the McGovern Foundation allows teachers to attend this institute free of cost and receive a stipend for books and on-campus parking. Spread the word!

To guarantee a spot in one of this year’s seminars, please submit your reservation form no later than May 31. Forms may be e-mailed to Mallory Chesser at [email protected] or faxed to713.743.9015.

8.5 in red with white

An Evening of Literary Placemaking

Posted February 5, 2013 & filed under Notebook.


Join Writing & C/Siting Houston for an event featuring WITS founder Philip Lopate, WITS Writer Miah Arnold, and great friend of WITS, Bill Monroe, as they share stories about the special places that make the Bayou City unique.

When: Wednesday, February 6th at 7:00 pm

Where: University of Houston Honors Commons (212 MD Anderson Library)

More about the readers:

Phillip Lopate has written three personal essay collections – Bachelorhood (Little, Brown, 1981), Against Joie de Vivre (Poseidon-Simon & Schuster, 1989) and Portrait of My Body (Doubleday-Anchor, 1996); two novels, Confessions of Summer (Doubleday, 1979) and The Rug Merchant (Viking, 1987); a pair of novellas; three poetry collections, The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open (Sun Press, 1972), The Daily Round (Sun Press, 1976) and At the End of the Day (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010); and a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children (Doubleday, 1975).

Miah Arnold is the author of Sweet Land of Bigamy, and a number of short pieces of literature. Her essay “You Owe Me” will appear in Best American Essays 2012. She earned a Ph.D. in writing and literature at the University of Houston. She teaches adults and children throughout Houston in University and nonprofit settings. She has served as a fiction editor at Gulf Coast and a poetry editor at Lyric Poetry Review. Her work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Nanofiction, Confrontation, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the South Dakota Review. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two children.

William Monroe is professor of English and Dean of the Honors College at the University of Houston. His book Power to Hurt: The Virtues of Alienation was selected as an outstanding academic book of the year by Choice magazine and nominated for the Phi Beta Kappa/Christian Gauss Award. His other publications include the play Primary Care, which deals with personhood issues related to Alzheimer’s Disease, and articles on T.S. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov, and Willa Cather. He is currently at work on The Vocation of Affliction: Flannery O’Connor and American Mastery.

About Writing & C/Siting Houston: Writing & C/Siting Houston is a collaboration among Houston Arts Alliance Folklife + Traditional Arts Program, the Cultural Enrichment Center at the University of Houston-Downtown, and Houston Folklore Archive of the University of Houston and has been funded in part with support from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Humanities Texas, National Endowment for the Arts, and Houston Endowment Inc.

Click here for more information

Poetry Reading at Brazos on Thursday

Posted June 6, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

On Thursday, June 7th at 7 PM, please join us at Brazos Bookstore to hear read two former WITS writers, Glenn Shaheen and Lauren Berry.

Lauren’s book The Lifting Dressis a National Poetry Series Selection for Penguin. Lauren received her MA from the University of Houston, where she won the Inprint Verlaine Prize and served as poetry editor for Gulf Coast.

Glenn’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New Republic, and many other journals.  He received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and works as the Secretary of Communication for the Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc.

Gulf Coast Reading Series this Friday at Brazos

Posted April 14, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

What: WITS Writers Laura Eve Engel, Eric Kocher, and Kent Shaw will close the Gulf Coast Reading Series presented by the University of Houston’s English Department and Brazos Bookstore. Rid your tax-day troubles with a nice helping of  literature read by Houston’s finest.

When: Friday, April 15, 2011 at 7PM

Where: Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet

Cost: Free and open to the public

More about the Authors

Laura Eve Engel’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Third Coast, Washington Square, Zone 3, Denver Quarterly, Caketrain and elsewhere. She finger-picks a mean guitar. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, she returns to her hometown in the summer, where she works as the Head Counselor at the UVa Young Writers Workshop.

Eric Kocher is a third year MFA student at the University of Houston. His work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Boston Review, Diagram, H_ngm_n, RATTLE, Third Coast, and Washington Square Review.

Kent Shaw’s first book Calenture was published by University of Tampa Press in 2008. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, AGNI, The Journal and elsewhere. He is in his final year of his PhD at the University of Houston and works as a writer for Writers in the Schools.

WITS Writers to Read Tonight at Brazos

Posted February 11, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

What: WITS Writers Chuck Carlise and Ryler Dustin will share their work tonight at Brazos Bookstore as part of the Gulf Coast Reading Series, sponsored by the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. This event is free and open to the public.

When: 7PM, February 11

Where: Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnett

About the Writers

Chuck Carlise was born in Canton, Ohio, and has since lived in twelve states and on two continents.  He holds degrees from Wittenberg University and the University of California at Davis, and has been awarded fellowships from the Mitchell Center, Wildacres, Inprint, and the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow.  His poetry and nonfiction appear in Southern Review, Quarterly West, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, and others.  He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Houston, where he is the nonfiction editor of the journal Gulf Coast.  He has taught with WITS for three years.

Ryler Dustin is originally from Bellingham, a small town near Seattle, but has traveled across the U.S. performing poetry and teaching poetry workshops in venues like New York’s Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe and the Berkley Poetry Slam. His collection Head Lead Birdsong was recently published by Write Bloody and has earned him a Pushcart nomination, the Sue C. Boynton Award, and the Bart Baxter Award. He has been a finalist in the Individual World Poetry Slam and is now an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Houston.

WITS Writer Jameelah Lang Will Read Tonight at Brazos

Posted November 12, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

WITS Writer Jameelah Lang will share her work tonight at Brazos Bookstore as part of the Gulf Coast Reading Series, sponsored by the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. This event is free and open to the public.

Jameelah is a Ph.D. student in fiction and nonfiction at the University of Houston.  She received both her B.A. in English literature and her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Kansas. In Lawrence, Jameelah co-founded the Bathtub Kansas Writers’ Collective, an initiative aimed at creating a more integral relationship between creative writing and community.  During the third year of her M.F.A., Jameelah also served as the year-long Writer-in-Residence at HUB-BUB, a non-profit, grassroots arts organization based out of Spartanburg, South Carolina.  There, she interned for Hub City Press.

What: Gulf Coast Reading Series

When: November 12, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Where: Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet

Where Are We Now: Martha Serpas

Posted March 12, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

Poet Martha Serpas, former WITS writer and a faculty member of the prestigious University of Houston Creative Writing Program, will be reading from her work on Saturday at noon on the Menil Bookstore Deck. This event is organized by Inprint, Inc.

Martha is the author of two collections of poetry, Côte Blanche (New Issues) and The Dirty Side of the Storm (W.W. Norton). Much of her writing is rooted in the landscape of her native southern Louisiana.  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Southwest Review, and Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, as well as in a number of anthologies, including the Library of America’s American Religious Poems. She holds degrees in English and creative writing from Louisiana State, New York University, and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, and a master of divinity from Yale Divinity School. Serpas is also trauma chaplain at Memorial Hermann Hospital. She will read and then take questions from the audience.

This event is presented as part of the free day long Menil Community Arts Festival, featuring performances, art, film, speakers, food, family activities, and more. Click here to learn more about the Festival.

Who: Martha Serpas

What: a poetry reading with Q & A to follow

When: Saturday, March 13, 2010, at Noon

Where: The Menil Bookstore Deck, 1520 Sul Ross, Houston 77006

Cost: Free!

For more information about this event presented by Inprint, click here.