Press Release: Leading Editors Guide Promising Writers in New Institute

A small class of gifted student writers will be working closely with some of the city's most celebrated editors when the CUNY Graduate Center's new Institute for Writers gets underway this month.  The innovative program gives talented non-fiction writers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus their skills by working intensively with editors who are known for turning promising writers into accomplished professionals.

Beginning late September, the students will be working with Samuel Tanenhaus, editor of The New York Times Book Review, and Dorothy Wikenden, executive editor of The New Yorker.  Next spring's faculty will feature  Jonathan Landman, deputy managing editor of The New York Times, and Daniel Menaker, executive editor-in-chief of Random House. The program is coordinated by acclaimed author Andre Aciman, who heads the Graduate Center's comparative literature Ph.D. program.  Among next year's faculty are Robert Messenger, deputy managing editor of The Atlantic Monthly; Katherine Bouton deputy editor of The New York Times Magazine; and Michael Miller, page one editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Whether or not writers can teach others to write has long been a topic of discussion, but no one disputes the invaluable guidance of a good editor. Yet there are few if any other distinguished writing programs that emphasize a faculty of editors, much less renowned senior editors such as those in the Graduate Center's new Institute. That, in fact, was the very reason that Aciman founded the program, seeing the need through his own work:

"I realized that over the years I have learned the most from editors.   Writers themselves can't always see what needs to be eliminated or changed in another writer's work, but a good editor always can.   So, I wanted to offer a faculty that features famous writers' editors, rather than famous writers."

The students are talented, published writers who want to hone their skills in order to go to the next level.  The emphasis is on a professional approach to writing for real world, non-fiction applications.  At the same time, students will work in their own, individual forms, genres, and styles. In addition to intensive feedback seminars with the faculty editors, the program includes luncheons with prominent writers.  A certificate will be awarded upon completion.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.  Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2007

Category: Press Room