Writers Series presents playwright Jenni Lamb

Shelby Pendowski

Each year Grand Valley State University invites a variety of professionals, from artists and authors to musicians and playwrights, to speak with students and faculty as part of the Visiting Writers Series. This year, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences celebrates its 10th anniversary of bringing these professionals to campus.

On Nov. 19, the series welcomes playwright Jenni Lamb, a former actress and improviser from Chicago, as the first playwright for the series. Lamb was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O’Neill Playwrights Conference, is a member of the Living Room Playmakers collective, and has worked extensively with theaters like The Gift Theatre and The Wordsmyth Theatre, which make her a perfect choice for the series, Professor Oindrila Mukherjee said.

“I thought it would be interesting for our playwrights, our theater students and our writing students in general,” Mukherjee said. “They learn how to write dialogue and how to present things on stage, and film majors can learn a lot from it as well because there are a lot of similarities between screen writing and playwriting.”

Beginning at 4 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library’s multipurpose room, Lamb will begin with a workshop open to all students. Attendees will learn how to write as well as revise stories, adapt pieces to the stage and better develop dialogue and characters.

Lamb plans to demonstrate by example, discussing her own work and showing a film she created.

“The more people, the more practitioners you can talk to as an emerging writer, as a young aspiring writer, the better it is,” Mukherjee said.

The series coordinators aim to bring in a variety of writers from different heritages, writing styles and ethnicities who have published or produced work. Through working with writers such as Lamb, Mukherjee said she hopes students learn what it takes to write a good story or play and take what they have learned at GVSU to the next level.

At 7:30 p.m. in the GVSU Cook DeWitt center, Lamb will read some of her work and perform improv. This interactive lecture will include students in some hands-on learning.

“Some of the students will actually be participating in the improv and the readings with her,” Mukherjee said. “It is going to be more interactive than the other readings because not just the writer will be on stage, but some students will be on stage as well.”

The event is free and open to all students and faculty members.

“It is open to absolutely everybody,” Muhkerjee said. “We really want students from other departments to come.”