Purchase Area Writers Workshop

Are you a young writer bitten by the creative bug? The Purchase Area Writers Workshop at Murray State offers talented high-school writers (rising 9th graders through recent graduates) a chance to have a fun and exciting summer experience while also getting a real taste of the sophisticated, vibrant, and life-altering educational experience that is college. Make friends from all over the region and learn from experienced and published Murray State faculty. The classroom environment is intimate enough to gain the individual attention you need to thrive as a writer, and the residential life is full of exciting excursions and activities. You get three meals a day in the University dining hall, and sleep in University dormitories (supervised by responsible resident advisors). You will also have access to the university’s swimming pool and fitness center and, of course, there will be plenty of extracurricular events such as film screenings, student readings, and other fun and relaxing activities.

Group of campers smiling



2023 information TBA

2019 information:

In creative writing workshops, campers will join a community of writers practicing their craft. Through writing exercises in and out of the classroom, they will explore fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, while also experimenting with less conventional genres like podcasting or graphic novels. Collaborate on creative projects and share feedback that will support one another’s creative process. Whether relatively new to writing or working on their third novel, campers will learn new ways to bring words and stories to life.

Afternoon seminar sessions offer students the opportunity to work with a number of other faculty from the Department of English and Philosophy. Seminar sessions may include topics such as video game narratives, pop culture and literature, multimedia essays, experimental forms, songwriting and more.

Gender, Race, and Power in Science Fiction
Michelle Panchuk
In 1971 the science fiction write Joanna Russ asked “What Can a Heroine Do?” when reflecting on the representation of women in literature. Feminists today are still wrestling with the answer. In this session Michelle Panchuk will explore the manifestation of feminist issues in Science Fiction and discuss why the genre is so especially suited for exploring themes like gender, race, and power.

Fan Fiction from the Eighteenth Century to Today
Andy Black
Fan Fiction is one of the most mocked and disreputable, yet most widely practiced, forms of writing that happens today. In this session, Andy Black will discuss what's at stake when we make fun of fan fiction, and also look into the way it has always occurred.

Picture This: Creative Nonfiction and the Photo Essay
Carrie Jerrell
These days, we love to communicate through images—photos on Instagram, GIFs shared in a text, photo stories on Snapchat. In this session, we'll practice "reading" visual images and look at ways that contemporary writers are combining their written pieces with photographs to create new kinds of memoirs, personal essays, and journalistic works. Students will then create their own photo essays.

Going Postal: writing against convention through letters, drawings, and other everyday forms
Sara Cooper
Alejandro Zambra writes poems as standardized test questions to criticize an authoritarian government, while Anne Carson’s book about the loss of her brother takes the form of a coffin-like box of old letters, photographs, and unfinished notes. In this session we will look at how writers use unconventional forms (letters, drawings, journal entries, dictionary definitions) to disrupt the boundaries of what counts as story.

Words On Air
Chad Lampe
What do alien abductions, murder mysteries, and old Kentucky tales have in common? Each one is the subject of a podcast! Podcasts are everywhere these days, and the topics of these popular audio programs are endless. In this presentation with WKMS station manager Chad Lampe, students will learn about creating podcasts, current trends in podcasting, and how writing for the air differs from writing for print or screen.


The workshop fee is $525 for resident campers. This includes tuition, room (double occupancy), board (three meals a day), accident insurance, and most instructional materials. The fee for commuter students is $425, which includes tuition, accident insurance, most instructional materials, and lunch daily.

There are limited scholarship opportunities available. To apply: Have your parent or guardian email the Program Director indicating whether you receive free or reduced lunch. Use the subject heading “PAWW Scholarship.” These will be awarded on a first-come/first-serve basis.

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Contact Us

Dr. Carrie Jerrell

Dr. Carrie Jerrell


Rose Krzton-Presson


210 IT, MSU, Murray, KY 42071

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