March 16th & 17th, 2022 | Atlanta, GA



On Wednesday and Thursday, March 16-17, 2022, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, in partnership with the schools of the Atlanta University Center (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College), will host its second Craft & Conversation Creative Symposium at the Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library.


The mission of the symposium is to increase the diversity of voices represented in the literary landscape. Over two days, the symposium will highlight intimate conversations about the practice and teaching of creative writing, the professional writing life, writing curricula and resources, and co-curricular opportunities for AUC students.

The model for our symposium was developed at Howard University, where students, faculty, and alumni of the Workshop led a series of classroom visits, seminars, panels, and readings that were centered on our mission. 


Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

8:30 am – 9:00 AM | BREAKFAST 

Continental breakfast will be provided for attendees. 

9:00 am – 9:30 AM | Welcome 

Lan Samantha Chang, Director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; Leah Creque, Associate Provost for Pedagogy and Assessment at Morehouse College; and Loretta Parham, CEO and Director of the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library, will open our symposium with remarks. 

9:30 am – 11:30 AM | Craft Workshops 

The philosophy behind the creative writing workshop is that writers learn to improve in collaborative settings. In a supportive environment, participants will read specific works of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction, discuss areas of strength, and receive constructive suggestions about ways to improve their writing. Students will learn to articulate their response to writing in a way that is useful for both the group and their own development. 

Hosts & Facilitators:  
Fiction: Stephane Dunn (Morehouse) host; Drue Denmon (Iowa) & Dawnie Walton (Iowa) facilitators. 
Poetry: Sharan Strange (Spelman) host; Claretta Housley (Iowa) & Glen Waters (Iowa) facilitators.
Non-Fiction: Kelly DeLong (Clark Atlanta) host; Joshua Leonard (Iowa) & Monica West (Iowa) facilitators.

11:30 Am – 1:00 PM  | LUNCH 

Attendees will have lunch on their own. 

1:00 pm – 3:00 PM | Craft Seminars 

The craft seminars will go beyond the traditional boundaries of creative writing to establish participants’ own personal flair or voice. With an emphasis on narrative craft designed for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, participants are guided through exercises specifically designed to generate new ideas. 

Hosts & Facilitators:  
Fiction: Stephane Dunn (Morehouse) host; Drue Denmon (Iowa) & Dawnie Walton (Iowa) facilitators. 
Poetry: Sharan Strange (Spelman) host; Claretta Housley (Iowa) & Glen Waters (Iowa) facilitators.
Non-Fiction: Kelly DeLong (Clark Atlanta) host; Joshua Leonard (Iowa) & Monica West (Iowa) facilitators.

3:20 pm  – 3:30 PM | Atlanta University center woodruff library presentation

A presentation of the resources available through the library for creative writers.

3:30 pm – 4:30 PM | Iowa and AUC Author Panel: celebrating our own

An opportunity to engage with authors from Iowa and the AUC who have recent publications will describe their path to publishing and the literary landscape. 

Moderator: Stephane Dunn (Morehouse)
Panelists: Lan Samantha Chang (Iowa), Jamel Brinkley (Iowa), Monica West (Iowa), Dawnie Walton (Iowa), Wandeka Gayle (Spelman), Daniel Black (Clark Atlanta), 

5:00 pm – 5:30 PM | James Alan McPherson Tribute

This year’s symposium highlights the legacy of the late MacArthur Fellow James Alan McPherson (1943-2016), a Morris Brown alumnus, Georgia native, and the first African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. McPherson was instrumental in developing generations of writers at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The tribute will feature Iowa Writers’ Worksop Director Lan Samantha Chang and National Book Award Finalist Jamel Brinkley, and Morris Brown Alumnus Henry “Skip” Mason. 

5:30 pm – 6:30 PM | craft & conversation with Tracie Morris 

Interdisciplinary poet and Guggenheim Fellow Tracie Morris will present a curated mixed-media collection of her work. Dr. Morris transforms and complicates her subjects of abuse, power, and the body through repetition and accretive adjustments or substitutions, creating an intimate, dynamic space for readers and listeners.

Dr. Morris holds an MFA in poetry from CUNY Hunter College, a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University, and studied British Acting technique at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Dr. Morris is a Professor of Poetry at The Iowa Writers Workshop.

Dr. Morris’s poetry collections include handholding: 5 kinds (2016), Rhyme Scheme(2012), and Intermission (1998). Her work is featured in numerous anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015), The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop(2015), and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (2002). With Charles Bernstein, she coedited Best American Experimental Writing (2016).


Thursday, March 17th, 2022

8:30 am – 9:00 AM | BREAKFAST 

Continental breakfast will be provided for attendees. 

9:00 am – 10:00 AM | AUC Faculty roundtable: craft & curriculum in the AUC 

AUC faculty discuss the craft of teaching writing. Conversation will explore training and stimulating creative writers.

Moderator: Leah Creque (Morehouse)
Panelists: Wandeka Gayle (Spelman), Sharan Strange (Spelman), Daniel Black (Clark Atlanta), Nathaniel Norment (Morehouse), Stephane Dunn (Morehouse).

10:30 am – 11:30 AM | Iowa writers’ workshop Alumni roundtable: The creative life 

Iowa alumni share their pathways to publishing and a sustained creative writing practice. 

Moderator: Dawnie Walton (Iowa)
Panelists: Monica West (Iowa Alumna), Claretta Housley (Iowa).

11:30 Am – 1:00 PM  | LUNCH 

Attendees will have lunch on their own. 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Iowa & AUC Student Roundtable: The creative landscape 

Students from Iowa and the AUC will discuss their creative work, their pathway to creative writing, and their experiences along the way.  

Moderator: AUC Student
Panelists: Joshua Leonard (Iowa), Drue Denmon (Iowa), Glen Waters (Iowa), Jeremiah D. Davis (Morehouse), Kennedy Hamilton (Spelman), and a Clark Atlanta student.

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm | Iowa & AUC Student Performances: sounds & words for the culture  

Performances by Iowa and AUC students showcasing their creative works.  

Host: Zarina Sementelli (Spelman)
Performers: Joshua Leonard (Iowa), Drue Denmon (Iowa), Glen Waters (Iowa), Claretta Housley (Iowa), Takai Straw (Spelman), Isis Evans (Spelman), Tyler Ryan (Spelman), Calvin Bell (Morehouse), Jeremiah D. Davis (Morehouse), Two Morehouse students, and Four Clark Atlanta students.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Closing Conversation with Tracie morris 

Tracie Morris reflects on the events of the past two days and invites the audience to participate in a conversation on how we can develop and sustain a writing practice. 


  • Daniel Black, Clark Atlanta University
  • Jamel Brinkley, University of Iowa
  • Lan Samantha Chang, University of Iowa
  • Corrie Claiborne, Morehouse College
  • Leah Creque, Morehouse College
  • Kelly DeLong, Clark Atlanta University
  • Drue Denmon, University of Iowa
  • Stephane Dunn, Morehouse College
  • Andrea Jackson Gavin, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
  • Wandeka Gayle, Spelman College
  • Claretta Housley, University of Iowa
  • Michaeljulius Idani, University of Iowa
  • Joshua Leonard, University of Iowa
  • Herman “Skip” Mason, Morris Brown College
  • Tracie Morris, University of Iowa
  • Nathaniel Norment, Morehouse College
  • Loretta Parham, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
  • Sharan Strange, Spelman College
  • Dawnie Walton, Novelist and University of Iowa
  • Glen Waters, University of Iowa
  • Monica West, Novelist and University of Iowa
  • Patrice Williams, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Participating Institutions

  • Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library, supports the teaching, learning and research missions of four institutions of higher education that comprise the world’s largest consortium of HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. As the “center of the Center,” the AUC Woodruff Library is the intellectual and information hub of the Atlanta University Center.
  • Clark Atlanta University, established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869). Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement. CAU cultivates lifted lives that transforms the world.

  • Morehouse College, the only historically Black college dedicated to educating men. Founded in 1867, Morehouse is a private, liberal arts institution and the nation’s top producer of Black men who go on to receive doctorates and the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs. The College was named to the list of U.S. institutions that produced the most Fulbright Scholars in 2019-2020. As the epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation address the inequities caused by institutional racism, which has created social and economic disparities for people of African descent.

  • Spelman College, a historically Black college and a global leader in the education of women of African descent, is dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and the intellectual, creative, ethical, and leadership development of its students. Through diverse learning modalities, Spelman empowers the whole person to engage the many cultures of the world and inspires a commitment to positive social change.

  • University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the first creative writing degree program in the United States, and since its founding in 1936, the program has been home to thousands of remarkable writers. The program claims among its graduates winners of virtually every major literary award, including seventeen winners of the Pulitzer, six recent U.S. Poets Laureate, and numerous winners of the National Book Award, MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, and other major honors.

sponsorship & Support

The Craft & Conversation Creative Symposium was made possible through the generous support of several organizations. 

  • Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
  • Atlanta University Center Consortium
  • University of Iowa Graduate and Professional Student Government
  • Iowa Writers’ Workshop
  • Clark Atlanta University Department of English
  • Morehouse College Department of English 
  • Morris Brown College Department of English
  • Spelman College Department of English





covid-19 policies

Visitors must adhere to all current and applicable AUCC COVID-19 health and safety protocols at the time of their visit, including proof of a negative COVID-19 test, face-covering requirements, symptom checking, and recommended hygiene practices.

 A visitor to the AUC Woodruff Library is a person who does not have a valid ID card from Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College or Spelman College.  All visitors must bring proof of negative COVID-19 test no earlier than 72 hours of the event, or send in advance to Naylah Daniels – – no earlier than Monday, March 14, 2022.

Visitors who refuse to or cannot comply with campus protocols will not be allowed to enter the library.

For additional information please reference the AUCC Visitor Policy.