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  • Home / News / Ursuline, Lake Erie colleges co-sponsor sci-fi writing workshop | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    Ursuline, Lake Erie colleges co-sponsor sci-fi writing workshop

    September 15, 2021

    Cover of Andre Norton book Crosstime

    Ursuline College and Lake Erie College are co-sponsoring a virtual two-part science fiction writing workshop exploring the works of the late Cleveland writer Andre (nee Alice) Norton. The sessions take place on two consecutive Mondays, October 25 and November 1, both from 7:00-9:00 p.m. via Zoom. Attendence at both sessions is encouraged. The workshop is free and open to the public with registration required.

    Wildly popular in her day, Norton (1912-2005) sold millions of copies of her young adult science fiction and fantasy books, which were translated into at least nine languages. She was born Mary Alice Norton but found success writing under the name Andre Norton. Norton is one of 60 important figures from the region's past that Cleveland Arts Prize will be honoring over the next 12 months, in partnership with the Cleveland Historical Society, and with the imaginative collaboration of area institutions, in a special project it has named Celebrating Our Past Masters.

    Both sessions of the sci fi writing workshop will be facilitated by science fiction writer Marie Vibbert. The Oct. 25 session will open with a brief presentation on Norton's work, focusing on passages that illustrate key topics. Participants will discuss craft details from those passages and the role of science fiction in encouraging difficult conversations surrounding, for example, gender roles. Participants will then tackle two writing exercises intended to help generate story ideas and plot structure.

    The Nov. 1 session will open with participants sharing something they wrote, followed by a discussion of craft. Participants will be tasked with coming up with questions the passages raise, to enhance the exploration of invention and social issues.

    Registration is open to the public, with spots reserved for Ursuline College and Lake Erie College students available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Ursuline Assistant Professor of English Katharine G. Trostel, PhD, said she envisions hosting a public program on Norton during spring 2022 featuring a keynote by Vibbert.

    Vibbert has sold over 70 science fiction short stories to magazines such as Analog, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nature, and Vice. Her work has been translated into French, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Her debut novel, Galactic Hellcats, was published in March by Vernacular Books.

    In celebration of its 60th anniversary in 2020, Cleveland Arts Prize began spotlighting “60 great writers, artists, composers, architects and designers, as well as memorable figures of stage and screen doing remarkable things here well before there was a Cleveland Arts Prize … extraordinary individuals who contributed so notably to the region’s—and larger world’s—culture.”

    According to Cleveland Arts Prize, Norton "won most of science fiction and fantasy’s highest awards: the Grand Master of Fantasy award, the Nebula Grand Master award, admission into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Hall of Fame, and the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named an award for young adult novelists for her shortly before her death."


    About Ursuline College – Founded in 1871, Ursuline College is an accredited liberal arts college rooted in Catholic traditions of intellectual inquiry and social justice. Ursuline educates students for service, leadership and professional excellence through an array of undergraduate, graduate and degree-completion programs in the liberal arts, nursing, and professional studies. At Ursuline, women-focused undergraduate programs and co-educational graduate and degree-completion programs foster lifelong learning. The College offers 11 sports competing at the NCAA Division II level.

    About Lake Erie College – Lake Erie College, founded in 1856, provides an excellent, inclusive, and highly personalized education grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Guided by hope and care, our students are empowered to lead lives of personal significance and professional success as global citizens. We offer 35 undergraduate majors and master’s programs in business administration, education and physician assistant studies. Our students compete in 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports and on three intercollegiate equestrian teams.