Portland Community College launched the country's first community college-based writing residency program this fall.
After announcing the Carolyn Moore Writing Residency program in February, PCC is now offering "established and emerging writers of all genres" the chance to stay at the Carolyn Moore Writers House in Tigard, near the PCC Sylvania campus, to focus on developing a piece of written work.
The PCC Foundation and the college's Humanities and Arts Council was gifted the 2,500-square-foot former home of Moore, an educator and award-winning poet. Moore's former home is valued at more than $5.5 million.
"This is an incredible development at PCC and not just in terms of the size of the gift, but also in terms of the opportunity it presents for students," said Andrew Cohen, chair of the council and an English instructor at PCC, noting the program offers "opportunities that community college students typically don't have access to."
The length of stay for writers at the Moore residency will vary in length, but the college noted each residency typically lasts three to eight weeks. Each visiting writer may visit a PCC class or two during their stay, and may also give a reading to PCC students and faculty. Currently, most PCC classes are being held online.
This fall, the college welcomes its first cohort of writing residents, including National Book Award winner Justin Phillip Reed and poet Taylor Johnson, winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award and the 2021 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging Writers from Lambda Literary, as well as a Lambda Literary Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers.
In January, PCC will welcome current Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani for a short stay at the house.
Justin Rigamonti, a writing instructor at the PCC Cascade campus who also serves as the house's coordinator, called the program "completely unique."
"Usually programs like these only exist at elite universities," Rigamonti said. "This will be a game-changer for our vibrant creative writing program, which is full of highly skilled and innovative writers who often lack resources and connections to the larger literary community. This will change that."
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