Columbia Writers House is a community of twelve student writers trying to unify and expand Columbia's literary scene. It operates as part of Columbia's SIC (Special Interest Community) program. In addition to providing a creative environment and attending literary events in New York City, the House hosts readings, workshops, and talks with Columbia professors, MFA students, and alumni. Notable dinner guests have also included Pulitzer prize-winning former Poet Laureate Mark Strand, bestselling author Paul Auster, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, and Man Booker Prize winner Kiran Desai.
House workshops are on Thursday nights and provide a time for residents to critique each other's work, but Writers House also hosts a number of open workshops throughout the semester.
Writers House has also instituted a monthly book swap and helped facilitate the InterPublications Alliance, which unites the editors for all of Columbia's non-weekly publications.
Living in Writers House
Any upperclassman in CC or SEAS with guaranteed housing is eligible to live in Writers House. Recruitment typically starts in November, and applications are due in the end of January. For more information, see the Special Interest Community website.
The Columbia Writers House was founded in the spring of 2009 by David Berke, Kassy Lee, and Erica Weaver and was originally called "114 rue de Fleurus" after 27 rue de Fleurus, Gertrude Stein's address in Paris, where she ran an avant-garde salon for the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Henri Matisse, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Apollinaire.
The first Writers House had eight members and was located on the second floor of Wien Hall, but the House has since expanded to twelve members and is now located on the second floor of Harmony Hall.
When it was on Wien 2, Writers House hosted Mark Strand for dinner in a Wien single with all the furniture removed.
Writers House also maintains a blog called Print Fatigue.
The Faculty Adviser is Professor Alan Ziegler, who has shown great enthusiasm for this community. He headed the Undergraduate Creative Writing department for twelve years, has won numerous awards, and has been published in such illustrious magazines as The New Yorker and The Paris Review.
- Paul Auster - novelist
- Kiran Desai - Man Booker Prize winner
- Binnie Kirshenbaum - Creative Writing Director at Columbia's School of the Arts
- Edward Mendelson - Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities
- Orhan Pamuk - Nobel laureate
- Ron Padgett - poet
- Ed Park - novelist
- Mark Strand - Pulitzer prize-winning former Poet Laureate