The University of Utah Honors College will celebrate the first published book to come out of its intensive yearlong undergraduate novel writing workshop, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community.
Laurel Myler, class of 2016, wrote her novel, “City Ash and Desert Bones,” during the workshop, in which she was required to wake at 4:30 a.m. to write two to three quality pages each day. Only offered every other year, the workshop offers 10 students a rigorous and challenging opportunity to produce a full novel.
“The workshop is not for the faint of heart,” said Michael Gills, Honors College professor. “We read 10 master novels over summer, write 10 pages a week for 30 weeks, complete a finished novel draft by the end of spring term and submit it in lieu of examinations. Students are also required to keep entirely caught up with the demanding weekly coursework.”
Myler’s book takes place 300 years into a dystopian future where a married couple is sent to a town with a buried dreadful truth. Raw Dog Screaming press published “City Ash and Desert Bones” this fall and the book can be purchased on Amazon.
“Being a student was and still is very much a part of my identity, and I am excited to share my work and experience, small as it is, with current students,” said Myler. “More than anything, it gives me an opportunity to grow by gaining new connections and sharing ideas.”
The Honors College encourages and supports students from all majors across campus and welcomes students into a special curriculum and active community of dedicated faculty and motivated learners. As the pedagogical lab on campus, the college offers innovative courses, like the novel writing workshop, and intensive support as students lead the campus in undergraduate research, interdisciplinary teamwork and global engagement.
“The honors novel writing course represents the best in breadth and depth of an honors education,” said Sylvia Torti, dean of the Honors College. “Students maintain a sustained commitment to the study and production of work, they engage one another as scholars and writers and they challenge and support each other to write the best novel possible. I’m so proud of the work that professor Gills and the students do in this class and especially pleased that Laurel’s terrifically imagined novel has been published.”