News Release

New Literary Initiatives Fund for University of Minnesota Creative Writing Program

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The Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota is delighted to announce the establishment of the Walter Nathan Literary Initiatives. This new fund will support programming in partnership with Creative Writing to include reading events, an essay prize, and a literary festival that will engage Twin Cities high school students. The Walter Nathan Literary Initiatives have been established via a gift from Michael and Julie Kaplan, College of Liberal Arts alumni, to honor their fathers.

“The extraordinary generosity of Michael and Julie Kaplan will facilitate new, creative and artistic relationships between the University of Minnesota and the community,” said Julie Schumacher, Regents Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota. “Creative Writing faculty, staff, and students are very grateful.”

In 2022, the Walter Nathan Literary Initiatives will present three literary events, during which members of the University of Minnesota and Twin Cities literary communities can gather to celebrate the vibrant literary culture in the Twin Cities and across the country.

The inaugural Walter Nathan Literary Initiatives event, "Celebrating Great River Review," will take place at 7 p.m. on March 1, 2022, in the newly renovated Pillsbury Hall. This event will celebrate the release of Great River Review Issue 68, and feature readings by CMarie Fuhrman, the first annual Great River Review Walter Nathan essayist, and Stephen Scott Whitaker, the 2021 Pink Poetry Prize winner. Great River Review, the longest-running literary magazine in Minnesota, has been produced by graduate students and faculty of the Department of English at the University of Minnesota since 2016. This celebration is free and open to the public. Community members are encouraged to attend. 

The second Walter Nathan Literary Initiatives event will be a "First Books" reading at 7 p.m. on March 17, 2022, honoring debut publications by MFA alumni and local and national writers; this event will also take place in Pillsbury Hall and be open to the public. In the fall, the first-annual Walter Nathan Literary Festival will host over 500 area high school students for a reading and conversation with a nationally known visiting writer. Students will learn about the art and craft of creative writing and how they might pursue it through post-secondary education.

“The MFA program in Creative Writing is always excited to find new ways to contribute to the extraordinary Twin Cities literary culture that so inspires and nourishes us as writers,” said Kathryn Nuernberger, director of the University of Minnesota Creative Writing Program. “We're especially excited about the ways the Walter Nathan fund provides opportunities to celebrate local writers, especially area high schoolers who may be just discovering their passion for creative writing.”

About the Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota

The Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota is home to a top-tier MFA program and an undergraduate minor in creative writing. Each year, the MFA program accepts up to nine students in fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction; with mentorship by stellar faculty, these students devote themselves to the creation of a book-length manuscript. The creative writing minor offers undergraduates opportunities to learn about writing, revision, and creating imaginative literary work, and provides a foundation in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. For more information, visit or call 612-625-6366. Follow us online on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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