Do Not Disturb!

Posted Jun 10, 2019

If Maya Angelou and Ernest Hemingway regularly wrote in hotels, there must be some literary magic to be found in a room with a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

The Marriott at the University of Dayton has partnered with the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop to provide complimentary hotel rooms as part of a package for two emerging humor writers — the winners of A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.

“We appreciate this generous in-kind support that provides two gifted writers with a quiet space to write — along with a housekeeper. That’s priceless,” said Teri Rizvi, founder and director of the workshop.

The premise behind this unconventional writer’s residency is simple: What writer wouldn’t want to spend two blissful weeks at a hotel in Dayton, Ohio?  Room service. An omelet bar. The sun rising over the Great Miami River, aka “the Dayton Riviera.” It’s the ultimate gift for any writer — the luxury of time to write.

Thanks to generous funding from Los Angeles humorist and writer Anna Lefler, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop offers two emerging humor writers the opportunity to dive into their comedy writing without pesky everyday responsibilities. Applications will be accepted Sept. 3-24, with Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry and best-selling novelist Adriana Trigiani serving as finalist judges. The two winners will be whisked away, all expenses paid, to the April 2-4, 2020, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, where they will be honored with plush, custom-embroidered bathrobes to kick off their two-week residency after the workshop ends.

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.

Located next to the University of Dayton — the alma mater of legendary humorist Erma Bombeck — the Marriott is the official hotel for UD’s popular biennial writers’ workshop that attracts 375 writers from around the nation and sells out within hours. The Writer magazine named it the best writing conference in Ohio and “THE conference for humor writers.”

For more details about the writer’s residency, visit