Writers Center

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Scholarship Opportunities

The Writers Center provides multiple scholarship opportunities for students. For more information contact the Writers Center Director.

  1. The Palmer Arts Contest awards first ($900.00), second ($400.00), and third ($200.00) prizes in four categories: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Visual Art. To be eligible for the contest, entrants must have been registered in Spring or Fall classes in the academic year of the contest. Winners will additionally be published in Spire, ECC's literary and arts journal. Funding for the contest is generously provided by the Florence B. Palmer Foundation - apply now.
  2. The Board of Trustee awards up to (3) three tuition scholarships for creative writing students. Students who receive the scholarship commit to working in the Writers Center. For more information contact the Writers Center Director.

The ECC Writers Center is an outreach program for students and members of the community who are interested in writing and literature. The Writers Center promotes and coordinates a variety of activities for area writers in all stages of development who wish to share their work in an atmosphere of constructive, respectful criticism.

Reading Series

During the academic year, the Reading Series highlights the work of critically acclaimed authors and offers the opportunity for attendees to interact with these writers. In addition to reading events, authors visit the English 110 Creative Writing class and work with individual students on their craft. A pre-reading dinner is held before each event. For reservations contact the Writers Center.

C.M. Burroughs

Thursday, September 20, 2018
7:30 p.m., Building H, Room H142

C.M. Burroughs' debut collection of poetry is The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012). She is an assistant professor of poetry at Columbia College Chicago, and she serves as senior editor for Tupelo Quarterly and coeditor for Court Green. She has received commissions from the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Warhol Museum to create poetry in response to art installations. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the 2009 Gift of Freedom Award, her poetry has appeared in journals including Callaloo, jubilat, Ploughshares, VOLT, Bat City Review, and Volta. Burroughs is a graduate of Sweet Briar College, and she earned her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Patrick Parks

Thursday, October 18, 2018
7:30 p.m., Building H, Room H142

Patrick Parks is the author of the extraordinary new novel Tucumcari; his fiction has also appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Clockwatch Review, Farmer's Market, B City, and the anthology The Breast. He was the editor of Black Dirt, a literary journal, and Sarajevo: An Anthology for Bosnian Relief. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, he taught writing at Elgin Community College for 26 years and was named National Community College Teacher of the Year.

Sandi Wisenberg

Thursday, February 21, 2019
7:30 p.m., Building H, Room H142

S.L. Wisenberg is the author of a book of short stories, The Sweetheart Is In; an essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, & Other Obsessions; and a nonfiction chronicle, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch. She was co-director of Northwestern’s MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing for 10 years, has published fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry in many literary magazines and anthologies, and has read her work on Chicago’s National Public Radio station, WBEZ. She has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Illinois Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Humanities. For many years she was the nonfiction editor of Another Chicago Magazine. She is now editor of ACM, which is online only, and which has expanded its range to include political art and ideas. She teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School and also works as an editor and writing coach.

Mira T. Lee

March 14, 2019
7:30 p.m., Building H, Room H142

Mira T. Lee's debut novel, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL, was selected as a Top 10 Debut title for 2018 by the American Booksellers Association, and named a Top Winter/2018 Pick by more than 30 news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and O Magazine, among others. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as the Southern Review, the Missouri Review, and Harvard Review, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize.

Remica Bingham-Risher

Thursday, April 25, 2019
7:30 p.m., Building H, Room H142

Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Among other journals, her work has been published in The Writer’s Chronicle, New Letters, Callaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion, winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh, shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and Starlight & Error, winner of the Diode Editions Book Award. She is the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University. She resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children.


A pre-reading dinner with each author will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the reading. For reservations, please contact Rachael Stewart at rstewart@elgin.edu.


All Writers Center readings are free and open to the public.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

Coffee House


This is a monthly opportunity for writers to share their original work. All ECC students, faculty, and community members are welcome. Join us to share your work and receive feedback from others and/or be an audience member enjoying the works of others. Coffee House events are held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Building B, Room B270.

Upcoming dates include the following Wednesdays:

  • September 5, 2018
  • October 3, 2018
  • November 7, 2018
  • February 6, 2019
  • March 6, 2019
  • April 3, 2019

Spire Magazine

Spire is the college's visual arts and literary magazine published each spring by ECC students. Submissions of original student works are sought in poetry, prose, drawing, printmaking, and photography. Apply now by completing the online form.