Tag Archive | "creative writing program"

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Goran’s Gifts: UM Celebrates Creative Writing Professor Lester Goran’s Legacy October 23-24

A memorial celebration of the late Professor Lester Goran’s creative writing legacy at the University of Miami will begin Thursday October 23, with Recent Alumni Readings at 6:30 p.m. at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, and continue Friday, October 24 with an evening of readings and memories of his life and legacy at 6 p.m. in the CAS Gallery at the Wesley Foundation House, 1210 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables.

Goran, who  began developing creative writing courses for undergraduates in 1961, founded the MFA in Creative Writing Program and taught more than 20,000 students in his 53 years at the University. He published eight novels and three collections of short stories and mentored scores of well-published writers.

Free and open to the public, the Thursday night celebration will feature Daisy Hernandez, reading from A Cup of Water Under My Bed; Jason McCall, reading Dear Hero; Kristine Snodgrass, reading from War on Pants; and Natalia Sylvester, with Chasing the Sun.

Also free and open to the public, the Friday celebration is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department’s Creative Writing Program, the MALS program, and the Mangrove Literary Journal. The evening will feature former students Chrissa-Jean Chappell, reading from More than Good Enough; Terrence Cheng, from Sons of Heaven; Paul Perry, from Gunpowder Valentin: New and Selected Poems; and  Michelle Richmond, from The Year of the Fog; and special remarks by Professor Eugene Clasby,Matthew Aspery Gear, and Chauncey Mabe.

A reception will follow. Please RSVP at http://as.miami.edu/goranrsvp.

For more information, contact UM’s Creative Writing director, M. Evelina Galang, at mgalang@miami.edu or Creative Writing Community Outreach and Events Coordinator Melissa Burley at m.burley1@umiami.edu. For information about parking, please see UM Parking Information.


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The Writer’s Room at the Betsy Presents Creative Writing Faculty August 27

The Writer’s Room at the Betsy presents “Escribe Aqui/Write Here: A Multicultural Reading,” featuring University of Miami Creative Writing faculty on Wednesday, August 27, at 6 p.m. in the B Bar of the Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Featured writers will include Evelina Galang, Patricia Engel, and Amina Gautier, along with poets Mia Leonin, Jaswinder Bolina, and R. Zamora Linmark. Please RSVP at artsandculture@thebetsyhotel.com.

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Lester Goran, a Bright Light That Shone on Many Writers, Dies at Age 85

Lester Goran inspired scores of writers over his 50-plus years at UM.

Lester Goran inspired scores of writers over his 50-plus years at UM.

Melissa Peerless
Special to UM News

Coral Gables, Fla. (February 7, 2014) – Lester Goran, a talented writer, inspirational teacher, and founder of the Creative Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami, passed away on February 6. He was 85.

During a career at the college that spanned more than a half century, Goran helped more than 20,000 students find their voices and tell their stories.

Former students recall his use of zany phrases (such as “Throw a cat out the window!”) to inspire them to look for surprises in their work. They remember a fantastic storyteller who was quick to both praise and criticize their work, as needed. Many say that, without his guidance, they would not be writers today.

Goran joined the Arts and Sciences faculty in 1960, and helped to establish the first creative writing curriculum at UM in 1965. He was also instrumental in establishing the Master of Fine Arts program in 1991.

“Lester Goran was a writer who practiced his craft to the end,” said M. Evelina Galang, director of the Creative Writing Program. “In doing so, he was a master who, by example, lecture, and encouragement, ushered several important writers into this world—among them Terrence Cheng, Chantel Acevedo, Michelle Richmond, Paul Perry, and Crissa-Jean Chappell. He was a bright light who made the University of Miami’s Creative Writing Program what it is today.”

Throughout his long and illustrious teaching career, Goran wrote prolifically, penning eight novels, a memoir, and three short story collections. Many of his works are set in Pittsburgh, where he grew up in a tough neighborhood before earning both B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.

In a 2010 interview, Goran said he was drawn to writing to explain his life. “I couldn’t understand myself unless I partially fictionalized myself into a drama. Produced, directed, and written by myself,” he said, adding that he loved teaching and “dealing with many young people who are on the edge of self-discovery.”

“A great University is built on a strong faculty, and Lester Goran is a shining example of our excellent team in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Dean Leonidas G. Bachas said. “We are all very proud of the Creative Writing Program, which Lester started. He has enlightened our community for 50 years, and his legacy will continue to live on in our students and their writings.”

During the 2010-11 academic year, the Creative Writing Program organized the Goran Reading Series in honor of his 50 years of service. Four prominent writers who had studied with Goran offered public readings, master classes, and community workshops. The program also established the Lester Goran Endowed Creative Writing Fellowship to offer emerging writers the opportunity to create.



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Poetry with a Purpose: Readathon Aids Typhoon Relief Efforts in the Philippines

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Poetry with a Purpose: Readathon Aids Typhoon Relief Efforts in the Philippines

Rachel Berquist performs during the USpeak Readathon at the UC Rock.

Rachel Berquist performs during the USpeak Readathon at the UC Rock.

One by one, they stepped up to the microphone to read, sing or play a musical instrument. They weren’t seeking fame or fortune, but awareness—and more importantly, support—for an effort to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of one of history’s deadliest natural disasters.

Nearly a month after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in the central Philippines, UM’s Filipino Student Association (FSA) and Creative Writing Program staged a special USpeak readathon on Thursday for typhoon relief.  Read the full story

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Honoring a Creative Half Century of Teaching


Honoring a Creative Half Century of Teaching

From left to right: Hayes Roth ’72; Crissa-Jean Chappell ’99; Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Lester Goran; M. Evelina Galang; and Tom Cavanagh ’89.

The 50th teaching anniversary of an inspiring professor and beloved mentor was celebrated when the University of Miami Creative Writing Program honored Professor Lester Goran with “Tales from the Irish Club,” a reception held April 21 in the Newman Alumni Center.

“We honor Lester Goran and all he has done for the University of Miami, for the students who studied under him, and for the academy of letters where he has not only contributed his own books of literature, but the books of his students,” said M. Evelina Galang, director of creative writing and associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English, where the Creative Writing Program is housed. “For every student who leaves our program, another book is in the world, another chance to explore this human condition and all its possibilities.” Read the full story

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