Comedy Legends

Posted Mar 24, 2019

Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry and best-selling novelist Adriana Trigiani will select two emerging humor writers for an unconventional writing residency that promises winners the gift of time to hole up in a hotel, write — and order free room service.

Barry and Trigiani, who’ve written more than 50 books between them, will serve as finalist judges for A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.

Thanks to generous funding from humorist and writer Anna Lefler, the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is offering two writers the opportunity to dive into their comedy writing for two uninterrupted weeks at the University of Dayton Marriott Hotel along the Great Miami River, dubbed the “Dayton Riviera.” Applications will be accepted Sept. 3-24. The winners will be announced Nov. 12 and honored at the April 2-4 workshop, where they will be presented with plush, custom-embroidered bathrobes to kick off their two-week residency.

Barry has written 38 books, including the novels Big TroubleLunaticsTricky Business, Insane City and, most recently, the heartwarming and humorous Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old Happy Dog. He also has written a number of books with titles like I’ll Mature When I’m Dead, which are technically classified as nonfiction, “although they contain numerous lies.”

Two of Barry’s books were the basis for the CBS sitcom Dave’s World. In 1988, he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

The New York Times calls Adriana Trigiani “a comedy writer with a heart of gold.” USA Today describes her novels as “dazzling.” Beloved by millions of readers, she is a bestselling author in both fiction and nonfiction of 18 books that have been published around the world. Her novels were selected by Richard & Judy in the UK, and she was nominated for the IMPAC Award in Ireland for Lucia, Lucia. She is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker.

Trigiani wrote and directed the major motion picture Big Stone Gap, based on her debut novel, filmed entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. In 2018, she directed Then Came You, co-starring Craig Ferguson and Kathie Lee Gifford, who also wrote the screenplay. Trigiani also wrote the screenplay based on her novel Very Valentine starring Jacqueline Bisset and Kelan Coleman. It premiered on Lifetime in June 2019. Valentine launched Lifetime’s national book club. Her award-winning documentary Queens of the Big Time won the Audience Award at the Hamptons and Palm Springs International Film Festivals. Trigiani is the co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than 1,500 students in Appalachia.

Both Trigiani and Barry have strong ties to humorist Erma Bombeck’s legacy, serving as keynote speakers for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. In addition, Barry judged the finalist entries in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition in 2018, and Trigiani routinely emcees the Annual Friends of Erma Bombeck Authors Luncheon, which raises money to provide services for kidney disease patients in Arizona.

Launched in 2017, the inaugural A Hotel Room of One’s Own competition attracted 401 applications from six countries, 44 states and the District of Columbia from writers working on comedic novels, narrative non-fiction, plays, essays, sitcom scripts and other humor-writing projects.

For more information about the program, click here. The biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, believed to be the only conference in the country devoted to both humor and human interest writing, is enormously popular and sells out within hours. The Writer magazine named it the best writing conference in Ohio and “THE conference for humor writers.” Registration for the April 2-4, 2020, workshop will open in December.