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Novelist to set up writing class for Roswell senior citizens

New Mexico State University professor and novelist Kevin McIlvoy will visit the Roswell Joy Senior Center Oct. 25 to establish a weekly creative writing class for writers over 55.

NMSU professor and novelist Kevin McIlvoy will visit the Roswell Joy Senior Center Oct. 25 to initiate a creative writing class for writers over 55. (NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

The first session of the free class, set for 3:30 p.m., is open to writers of poetry, fiction, memoirs and personal essays. Beginners to experienced authors will be welcomed. "I expect that some people will be writing for themselves or their families and others for readers beyond their home community," McIlvoy said.

With the support of NMSU, McIlvoy is traveling to senior centers throughout New Mexico to initiate senior writing classes modeled after a workshop he has taught as a volunteer for 17 years at the Munson Senior Citizens Center in Las Cruces.

Working with elder writers is a rewarding experience, McIlvoy said. "I learned long ago that the writers who have the most to teach us are writers with many years of life experience."

The volunteer co-coordinator of the Roswell writing workshop will be Eva McCollaum, who teaches advanced placement English at Roswell Goddard High School. She earned a master of arts degree in creative writing from NMSU and is completing a master of fine arts in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. She has published her work in such national literary magazines as Puerto del Sol and Caprice. In 1994 she received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study the work of the essayist Montaigne at Whitman College.

McIlvoy has edited 14 volumes of the annual anthology, Serape, which includes the work of New Mexico writers over 55. He is the author of four published novels. His most recent novel, "Hyssop," has just been published in paperback by Avon/Bard. At NMSU he has won five teaching awards, including the 1999 Westhafer prize, the university's highest faculty honor.

For more information about the writing class, contact Olivia Reed or Helen Waters at the Roswell Joy Senior Center, 623-4866. Photo below is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto. For a print, call (505) 646-3221.