Purchase Area Writers Workshop (P.A.W.W.)

Purchase Area Writers Workshop

 Workshop Dates: June 24-30, 2018

Are you a young writer bitten by the creative bug? The Purchase Area Writers Workshop at Murray State offers talented high-school writers (grades 9-12) a chance to have a fun and exciting summer experience while also getting a real taste of the sophisticated, vibrant, and life-altering educational experience that is college. Make friends from all over the region and learn from experienced and published MSU faculty. The classroom environment is intimate enough to gain the individual attention you need to thrive as a writer, and the residential life is full of exciting excursions and activities.
You get three meals a day in the University dining hall, and sleep in University dormitories (supervised by responsible resident advisors). You will also have access to the university’s swimming pool and fitness center and, of course, there will be plenty of extracurricular events such as film screenings, student readings, and other fun and relaxing activities. 

Typical Courses Offered (subject to change for 2018)

 Poetry Workshop

Evelyn Conley has an MFA in Poetry and teaches English, Art History, and Creative Writing at Marshall County High School. She is the recipient of the 2015 Bermuda Triangle Prize for Poetry, was awarded a Puschcart Prize nomination, and her work also appears in ZO magazine.

During Ms. Conley's time with students in workshop, they will work on modeling the poetic forms of a range of authors, take a close look at how poetry relies on the careful balance of image and abstraction, and will consider how the senses may be used to, as T.S. Eliot says "elevate sense for a moment to regions ordinarily attainable by abstract thought[...]" and "clothe the abstract with all the painful delight of flesh". They will explore the value of the end of the line in poetry, evaluating the purpose of punctuation and the function of space in writing. In general, they will learn what it means to translate the world around us into poetic expression, and discover some of the ways we can make that expression something that is meaningful and accessible to those who read our work. 

Fiction Workshop

Squire Babcock is Professor of English at Murray State University, where he has taught creative writing and literature courses for 24 years. He is the author of the novel, THE KING OF GAHEENA, and has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in The Louisville Review, Colorado Review, Arts & Letters and elsewhere.

In workshop, students will learn the importance of "scene" in establishing powerful narrative, how to write dialogue to move a story forward, and various other essential techniques of the craft that will propel writers forward in their fiction work. 

Genre Seminar: Poetry

Andy Black is an Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy at Murray State. Though he studies eighteenth-century literature and philosophy, he decided he wanted to become an English major when he read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," a twentieth century poem. He's published articles on the rise of the Methodist church and attacks against it; Alexander Hamilton's contributions to The Federalist Papers; 18th century bathrooms; and a 17th century play about a stupid scientist. Though he is not skilled at many things, much less one particular thing, Andy likes to consider himself a Renaissance man.

In the What Is Poetry? seminar, Dr. Black and the students will look at two very different subjects that will lead to unique and unusual comparisons: the poetry of the early-eighteenth century writer Anne Finch, and the new phenomena of "found poetry" and "uncreative writing." The clash between traditional poetic forms (in Finch) and an extremely idiosyncratic movement (in contemporary poetry) allows us to think about not only what poetry is but also what it does. 

Genre Seminar: Fiction

Jeff Osborne is Associate Professor of English at Murray State where he teaches mostly American literature. He has published on Herman Melville, Ben Franklin, and the Federalist Papers.

In this seminar, students will encounter works of fiction that exemplify some aspect of the craft of writing fiction. For instance, how does dialogue work to tell the whole story? how does a writer get inside the head of a character in an effective way? how does an incredible first sentence or first paragraph immediately consume the readers attention? Students will leave the seminar with a better understanding of fiction writing and fiction itself.

PAWW Campus Life


The workshop fee is $450 for resident campers. This fee includes tuition, room (double occupancy), board (three meals a day), accident insurance, and most instructional materials.  The fee for commuter students is $350, which includes tuition, accident insurance, most instructional materials, and lunch daily. 

There are limited scholarship opportunities available. To apply: Have your parent or guardian email the PAWW Camp Director indicating whether you receive free or reduced lunch. Use the subject heading “PAWW Scholarship.” If your parent/guardian prefers, he or she may mail the statement to PAWW Camp Director at: 7C Faculty Hall, Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071. Make sure a return address is included.  These will be awarded on a first-come/first-serve basis, so apply EARLY. 


PAWW Camp Director (Name TBA)
7C Faculty Hall


Click here to register online.

For information about registration, please contact:
Janeen Winters
Phone: 270-809-3662