posted 2012-04-07 16:24:20

The Hidden Gem of Hunter's Writing Center

Hunter students have access to lectures and workshops

Brianna Maury-- Contributing Writer

The Writing Center, not to be confused with the Reading/Writing Center of Hunter, hosts free events every semester where world-renowned authors and thinkers come to share their knowledge in lectures and master class workshops.

The Writing Center was originally founded under the direction of Lewis Burke Frumkes at Marymount Manhattan in 1994. In September 2010, President Jennifer Raab invited Frumkes to move the center to Hunter’s school of Continuing Education.

Frumkes, author of seven books including “How to Raise Your I.Q. by Eating Gifted Children” and former professor of creative writing at Harvard University and Marymount Manhattan, has used his connections in the literary world to bring many great writers and inspiring minds to Hunter. Frumkes says his main mission for the center “is to give away free speaking events to students, faculty, and the New York City community.” For students and older citizens, great cultural events can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, and Frumkes sees the Writing Center as a vehicle to spread knowledge without the associated fees.

“I invite people who are fine writers as well as commercial writers. I ask them to talk about the writing life, how they became who they are, their raison d’etre,” says Frumkes. At the “Best Selling Authors” lectures, students can expect to find plentiful refreshments, authors signing books, and scholars answering questions.

In addition to writers, the Writing Center invites some of the most fascinating and provocative thinkers of our time. On April 3rd, the Writing center hosted great thinker John Donoghue, the director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. Donoghue is the developer of BrainGate and is a co-founder of Cyberkinetics, a startup company developing neurotechnologies for humans with paralysis and nervous system injuries. Donoghue is only one of a long and distinguished list of scholars who have presented through the center. Others include Freeman Dyson and Howard Gardner, and physicist Lisa Randall is scheduled to appear on May 3rd.

At the Writing Center’s master class workshops, taught by experienced writers from a variety of backgrounds, one can expect to attend class with six to fifteen aspiring writers and a facilitator who shares personal experience in the publishing industry. In April, the center will host Bruce Jay Friedman, a well- known humorist and writer of The Heartbreak Kid and The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life, as well as the award-winning screenplays for “Splash” and “Stir Crazy.”

“I am trying to make the Writing Center a cultural showcase for Hunter College,” says Frumkes. Although he has yet to reach the greater student body, he is not losing hope that all students will someday discover and enjoy the invaluable asset of the Writing Center.

Casandra Murray, adjunct professor and college assistant in Hunter’s English Department, says that she often receives calls of interest about the Writing Center at the School of Continuing Education but has “to search the internet to find information about the center because many people assume we are connected,” although they are not.”

Sarah Davis, another adjunct professor in the English Department, says the Writing Center “sounds like a great place,” but admits she did not know it existed.

All events in the Bestselling Author and Great Thinkers series are held in the faculty dining room on the 8th floor of the West building. Dates and times are listed on the Writing Center’s website.