Laugh-Inn: University of Dayton launches Humorist-in-Residence program


What writer wouldn’t want to spend two all-expenses-paid, blissful weeks at a hotel in Dayton, Ohio? Yes, a hotel. Room service. An omelet bar. The sun rising over the Great Miami River. It’s the ultimate gift for any writer — the luxury of time to write…and on the “Dayton Riviera,” no less.

That’s the premise behind “A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.”

Thanks to a generous gift from comic novelist and writer Anna Lefler, the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is offering two emerging humor writers the opportunity to dive into their comedy writing without pesky everyday responsibilities.

A “lifelong fangirl and devotee of Erma Bombeck,” Lefler says she was inspired to start the program because it has the potential to transform a writer’s life.

“The chance to step away from your everyday responsibilities to concentrate on your humor writing AND have access to unlimited tiny soaps? The comedy practically writes itself,” says Lefler a Los Angeles-based author of two funny books, Preschooled and The Chicktionary, and a three-time workshop faculty member.

“This is an opportunity for funny writers to deep dive into their comedic voices and create without limitations. I would be thrilled for this program to provide the catalyst for emerging comedy writers to break through with their art,” she says.

“Like all serious writers, we expect our residents to fritter some of their time away on social media. Look for updates from the Dayton Marriott under the hashtags #HotelLOL, #RoomServiceWriter and #LaughInn.”

Applications are due by midnight (EST) Oct. 6, with winners announced Dec. 4. The program is open to all humor writers regardless of gender or comedic point of view. Writers working on novels, narrative non-fiction, plays, essays, sitcom scripts and other humor writing are encouraged to apply, with special consideration given to emerging writers. Application fee is $25. Entries will be blind-judged by preliminary and finalist judges, all established writers.

Winners also will receive a free registration to the April 5-7, 2018, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, dubbed the “Woodstock of Humor.” Devoted to both humor and human interest writing, it’s so popular that it sells out within hours. The Marriott at the University of Dayton is an in-kind sponsor for the workshop and the residency.