SJU Writing Studies Blog

Emily Czerniakowski (’08) Gives Us an Update

Emily, an alum of our esteemed Writing Studies program, was gracious enough to provide an update on what she’s been doing since graduation.



Great to see all the exciting stuff coming from the SJU Writing Studies program. Just by way of update from my world since I last emailed in February of 2014:
I’ve enjoyed building a career in children’s media and entertainment – as a co-founder of nationally recognized youth dance company CaRu Entertainment, as a host for Radio Disney Philadelphia and as a host for Wilhelmina Philadelphia’s Philly Kids Got Talent. When I received the exciting news in August 2014 that I was going to have a little one of my own, I started Modern Mommie – a lifestyle blog geared toward non-traditional families. It has received upwards of 400 page views a week and has been retweeted by published authors, a major cosmetics brand and media outlets like WHYY. One of my posts was also featured in The Blended Family Digest. It is a project that I still consider in its early stages so I look forward to continuing to grow its content and its reach.
My career has seen quite a few twists and turns, but I am excited that this latest venture has brought me back to what I love to do most, to write.

 Congratulations on your continued success, Emily.  Thanks for keeping in touch!

SJU Writing Studies Author Showcase – Save the date!

Our fabulous literary magazine, The Avenue, has assembled some impressive talent for an Author’s Showcase, to be held on October 13 at 7 p.m. in Mandeville Hall, Room 313.  Alums and current students will present some of their work.  Come and enjoy this special evening with us!

Writers Showcase Flyer (final)





A big thank you to Dan Rousseau and Don Philbrick for making the showcase happen.


Call for Digital Chapbook Submissions

Essay Press Chapbook Contest-2


Essay Press is now reading for its first digital chapbook contest, to be judged by Essay authors.

Submissions are open from August 15 through November 1, 2015. Selections will be made by January.

Judges: Dan Beachy-QuickRosebud Ben-OniAmaranth BorsukJulie CarrMina Pam DickJennifer Kwon DobbsJoe HarringtonLily HoangKrystal LanguellDavid LazarShane McCrae and Jessica Smith.



Each of these 12 judges will select one digital chapbook for 2016 publication. Each judge will write an introduction to his/her selected work. Essay will then release a new winning chapbook each month in 2016.

They particularly welcome manuscripts that extend or challenge the formal possibilities of prose, including but not limited to: lyric essays and prose poems or poetics; experimental biography and autobiography; innovative approaches to journalism, experimental historiography, criticism, scholarship and philosophy. Simultaneous submissions, multiple submissions, collaborative manuscripts, digital and hybridized text/art manuscripts are all encouraged.

The ideal manuscript will run roughly 30 to 50 pages, though no manuscript will be denied consideration on account of being too short or too long. They will consider all submitted manuscripts for additional publishing possibilities. The reading fee is $8.

To contribute to live discussions, and for updates, follow them on Facebook & Twitter.

For guidelines and to submit, as well as to browse their existing digital and print catalogs, visit

Go ahead – give it a shot!

SJU Writing Studies Student Abdullah Aldayel Talks About His Experience in the Program



Abdullah Aldayel







I am Abdullah and I am from Saudi Arabia. I am a grad student in the Writing Studies Program. The Writing Studies Program interested me once Professor Tenaya Darlington, the Writing Studies Program’s Director, asked me to attend a class in the spring of 2014. I started my masters in the fall of 2014. It is an American-based program that I find challenging. As someone who is interested in gaining as much experience as possible, I find this program excellent for honing my English skills. “You will be the program’s star,” as Professor Tenaya once said.

My dream goal is to be an English instructor in one of the universities in Saudi. I chose this program because I want to perfect my use of the English language. I want to diminish my accent and learn how to use the English language correctly in class. This program definitely has helped me in terms of fluency. I am surrounded by bright, sharp, and opinionated American students, which can make me feel intimidated whenever I attend a class, but it also brings out the best in me.

It is definitely a competitive market out there; therefore, I need to be a step ahead of the other applicants trying to get a teaching position in Saudi. Being an ESL student in an American-based master’s program helps me continue to improve my use of English. I feel confident about the level I have reached. All credit goes to the competitive feelings I have when I attend class.

I invite ESL students who seek teaching jobs in their countries to seize the opportunity and apply to the Writing Studies Program. Not only will they know how to write professionally, but they will also learn how to speak English fluently and live an amazing experience with a very helpful, well-rounded staff.

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us, Abdullah!  Congratulations to you on meeting each challenge that comes your way with a positive attitude.  Have a great summer!