Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program at Baruch College Celebrates 20th AnniversarySince 1988, 41 distinguished writers—including Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, National Book Awardees and Poet Laureates—have participated in the celebrated program for students
December 20, 2018
Baruch College alumnus Dr. Sidney Harman (’39) once said, “Good writing is revelatory. It is not merely transference of fully formed material from brain to paper. Writing is an act of magic creation: writing is discovery.”
This visionary quote, along with a generous gift from Dr. Harman, helped Baruch College establish the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary during the 2018-19 academic year.
Dr. Harman believed the College needed more “poet managers,” and therefore wanted to establish a literary salon where business and the arts and sciences could flourish side by side.
The Harman Residency Program, endowed in Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, brings a distinguished writer to campus every semester. The Harman program has played hosts to poets, playwrights, journalists, non-fiction authors, and novelists who offer master classes in the workshop-style to select students, give campus-wide readings and serve as judges in student creative writing competitions.
“Sidney Harman’s advice for all of us is that we ‘should stay curious.’ It is advice students in the Harman Writer-in-Residence Program have taken to heart over the past two decades and it is advice I hope students will follow in the next 20 years, too,” said Roslyn Bernstein, professor of journalism, Emerita, Baruch College and founding director of the Harman Program from 1998-2013.
Professor Bernstein added, “The Harman Program teaches us how to stay curious. The answer: by deep reading and thoughtful writing; by sharing diverse and demanding ideas; and by poking and pushing at hidden meanings and revelations.”
History of the Harman Program
Since 1988, 41 distinguished writers have participated in the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence. Among them, they have received numerous honors including six Pulitzer Prizes, three MacArthur Fellowships, four National Book Awards, and two Poet Laureate designations.
Acclaimed playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is the current Writer-in-Residence. Other notable program participants included Katherine Vaz, Susan Choi, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Russell Shorto, who was the guest speaker at Baruch’s Convocation 2018.
Over its two decades, Harman writers have taught such offerings as Food-Centric Fiction, Exploring Sound, Subject and Imagination in Poetry, Family-in-History Narratives, Stories from Archival Materials, and Poetry of Exile and Emigration.
The Harman Program has also established a Writing Fellow Program through the Harman Foundation’s generosity. As part of this Writing Fellow Program, acclaimed emerging writers conduct writing workshops on campus each semester. Additionally, the Harman Program sponsors student creative writing prizes, with winning entries published in Encounters, Baruch’s literary arts magazine.
“The Harman Program remains as vibrant, vigorous and essential as it was in 1998, when it was created,” said Bridgett Davis, Director of the Harman Program. “There’s no doubt that the Program will continue to be a vital part of Weissman, Baruch College and the literary community for decades to come.”
# # #