Writers' Café

About the Café

The Writers' Café is an on-campus writing and meeting space housed in the Writing Center. The Café was established in January 2003, and it meets during Fall and Spring Terms.

Writing can be a solitary art. Whether you are a Writing major or are simply deeply interested in writing, take time to find an informal community of Pitt writers at the Writers' Café. Make contacts with other writers, try your hand at different genres, let guided freewriting exercises jumpstart your process, and share feedback on works-in-progress with peers from all over campus. At the Writers' Café, you'll get leads on publishing opportunities and contests and enjoy a supportive environment for trying out your work on new readers and listeners. 

Sessions are facilitated by practicing creative writers, often from the Pitt faculty. Typical sessions include craft talks, writing in response to prompts, and sharing that writing. Coffee, soft drinks, and snacks are available free of charge. Start your weekend the "write" way by being part of the Writers' Café.

All of the Writers' Café sessions are held in the Writing Center, 317B O'Hara Student Center.

The Writing Center has a number of creative writing faculty on staff as tutors, and you are ALWAYS WELCOME to get one-on-one feedback on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction at the Center. 

If you have questions, contact Barbara Edelman or Sarah Leavens, the Writers' Café coordinators, via email or at 412-624-6556.

Fall 2019 SessionsFridays from 3:30 to 5



9/13/19 • Write Yourself Into a Comic: No-Stress Comics Journaling for Beginners • Yona Harvey

In this stimulating, no-stress workshop, you will learn how to panel, draw, and narrate a comic. Through a series of brief writing exercises you’ll highlight memorable moments from your life and turn them into story. Fictional embellishments are encouraged. Each participant will leave with a mini comic and ideas for making many more. No drawing experience necessary!

Yona Harvey is an American poet and author of the poetry collection Hemming the Water.  Her second poetry collection, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2020.  She contributed to Marvel's World of Wakanda comic and also Black Panther & the Crew. She is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh.


9/27/19 • Prepare to Publish: Why, How, and Where • Geeta Kothari

Too often, we think about publishing as something separate from the writing process, as either the most important reason to write or the least important. Let’s find some balance in this interactive session, where we’ll also talk about resources for those who want to publish their short fiction, nonfiction and poetry. We’ll discuss ways to manage your submissions, how to handle rejection (inevitable for any writer who wants to publish), and the dos and don’ts of cover letters and dealing with editors at literary journals. 

Geeta Kothari is the nonfiction editor of the Kenyon Review and the director of the Writing Center at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also teaches in the Writing Program. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including New England Review, Massachusetts Review, and Best American Essays. Her books include the anthology, ‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters, and the short story collection, I Brake for Moose and Other Stories.


10/25/19 • Reaction, Reflection, Revision: From One Form to Another • Mia DeFelice, Joe Jang, Michaela Hope

Paintings, sculptures, music, films — we have all engaged with art that we love, that inspires us, that makes us feel something. But how can we draw from these other forms of art to create our own? In this writers’ cafe, we’ll discuss techniques and tips for writing poetry surrounding music and art. Then, we’ll take apart those poems and spend time reinterpreting our own work. Sometimes the best ideas come from what came before.

Michaela Hope is a senior majoring in English writing and psychology. She is a peer-tutor at the Writing Center and has been published with Assemble! Pittsburgh’s Home Language exhibit. 

Joseph Jang is a senior majoring in English writing. He currently reads for Hot Metal Bridge and Collision.

Mia DiFelice is a senior majoring in English writing and history. She is the assistant editor for Sampsonia Way and reads poetry for The Offing.


11/8/19 • Make ‘Em Laugh • Shannon Reed

Almost everyone enjoys reading humor, but many of us don't recognize that using comedy in writing is a skill that can be developed. In this workshop, we'll take a look at how humor is constructed, and work on applying those principles to fiction and non-fiction writing. Expect to laugh a lot, and to come away with a new-found appreciation for writing humor...as well as the beginning of a short story or essay! 

Shannon Reed teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Pitt, from which she also holds an MFA in Fiction. She frequently contributes humor to The New Yorker and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and has also written for The Paris Review, Slate, The Washington Post and Real Simple, among others. Her first book, Why Did I Get a B? Harrowing and Humorous Truths about Teaching is forthcoming from Atria Books in the fall of 2020.