All about Prague-Berlin 2014 summer residency for alums

Join MFA Program faculty, staff, and students and Alumni Association director Terry Price in July as we travel to Prague and Berlin. Sign up by January 10 for an alumni-only early-bird discount!


The Summer Residency in Prague and Berlin, July 10-22, 2014

Considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities, Prague is steeped in time, untouched by the bombs of the world wars. Built on seven hills, the city offers not just beautiful views, the world’s largest castle, and the best beer in Europe, but also a chance to experience old-school Europe when you pay for your purchases in the traditional currency, the Czech crown (koruna).

Our EF Tour Directors travel with us for the entire trip to answer questions, provide cultural insights, and keep our travels flowing smoothly. They’ll lead us on a walking tour to explore Prague’s Old Town, including the atmospheric Charles Bridge, and visit its castle, the largest in the world. We’ll visit the important Jewish Quarter on a walking tour that focuses on Franz Kafka, one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century.

We’ll take in an evening performance at one of the city’s iconic Black Light theatres, which mix mime and modern dance to create a multimedia, avant-garde theatre experience found only in Prague. An optional “Prague by Night” tour offers the chance to see the city by boat after dark, from the Vltava River.

From Prague, we travel by motorcoach north to Berlin, which has emerged as a vibrant metropolis since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. We’ll tour the city by bus to see the major sights, passing by the Brandenburg Gate, and visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. We’ll visit the world-famous Pergamon Museum, with its classical antiquities and Islamic art. In the evenings, you might opt to take in a cabaret or join a walking tour of Berlin’s justly famous modern architecture.

The MFA group shares meals on arrival day and on the last night of residency. In between, most evenings are free, giving you time to explore the cities as you wish.

Classroom Sessions

Alums are invited to join MFA students and faculty at our opening session and Program Book in Common discussion, when Sena leads a discussion about Franz Kafka’s surrealist novel The Castle. Many other lecture sessions are open to alums who’d like to attend. Alums interested in participating in workshop should check with Katy about joining the trip as a residency-only student.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

For alums, residency includes plenty of free time to spend as you will, with opportunities to socialize as well as to enjoy solo explorations and writing time. Our EF Tour Directors can give you tips and insights as you plan your days. In addition to the events on our itinerary, Alumni Association director Terry Price puts together optional dinners, readings, and other events for alums who’d enjoy the company.

Day 1 – July 10

Board your overnight flight to Prague.

Day 2 – July 11

We arrive in Prague, meet up at the airport, and proceed to our hotel in the heart of the city center. Join our EF Tour Director for an orientation walking tour of our neighborhood, and learn where to eat, drink, and find wi-fi. The entire group sits down together for a welcome dinner.

Day 3 – July 12

A walking tour today begins at the Prague Castle. In the castle’s courtyard, we’ll visit the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral, which took over 600 years to complete. We’ll stroll through the quaint, cobbled streets of the Mala Strana, the backdrop for Milos Forman’s Amadeus. We’ll cross the Charles Bridge to the 13th-century Old Town (Stare Mesto), where we’ll see Market Square, famous for its 15th-century astronomical clock.

Day 4 – July 13

Today is open for you to explore Prague on your own, or perhaps even rent a car for a day trip into the Czech countryside.

Day 5 – July 14

Today is open for exploration and writing. This evening, we attend a Black Light Theatre performance, a type of theatre found only in Prague. Known for its beauty and visual artistry, Black Light Theatre combines dance, music, and nonverbal performance into one memorable show.

Day 6 – July 15

Today, our tour director leads us on a stroll through Josefov, Prague’s Jewish Quarter. For centuries Jews were forced to live separately and were then purged under Nazi occupation in World War II. Today Josefov stands in loving memory of Judaism in Central Europe. We’ll visit the unique Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum, the Old-New Synagogue, and the Spanish Synagogue. Afterward, we’ll stop by the Kafka Museum, located in Franz Kafka’s former home.

Day 7 – July 16

Our final day in Prague is at your leisure. Perhaps you’d like to visit St. Agnes of Bohemia Convent, one of the oldest Gothic buildings in Prague, which houses an exhibition of medieval and Renaissance art. This evening, join in an optional “Prague by Night” sightseeing trip to view the city lights by boat from the Vltava River.

Day 8 – July 17

Today we travel by motorcoach to Berlin, stopping in Dresden for lunch along the way. This afternoon, we visit the world-famous Pergamon Museum, which houses antiquities including the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate. The building also houses the Museum of Islamic Art and the Near Eastern Museum.

Day 9 – July 18

This afternoon, we take a motorcoach tour of Berlin. We’ll ride past the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche (left unrestored as a reminder of the ravages of war) and down the glittery Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s liveliest street. We’ll arrive at the Brandenburg Gate, once the symbol of the Cold War, where East and West Berliners danced atop the crumbling Berlin Wall in November 1989. On the site where Checkpoint Charlie once guarded the border between East and West Germany, we’ll visit a museum devoted to the era of the Berlin Wall.

Day 10 – July 19

Today you’re free to explore Berlin as you like. Perhaps take a bike tour of the city, visit the Bauhaus Museum, or just hang out in funky East Berlin. This evening, you might opt to take in a performance at one of Berlin’s famous cabarets.

Day 11 – July 20

After a free day for writing and exploration, join in on an optional evening walking tour of Berlin’s justly famous modern architecture.

Day 12 – July 21

Today is open for exploration—or perhaps you’d like to sit in on our final day of classroom activities, including our interrelatedness-of-the-arts discussion, a journal reading session, graduation readings, and the graduation ceremony itself. The residency wraps up tonight with a farewell dinner.

Day 13 – July 22

Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin! We fly out of Berlin, arriving back home in the States.

Travel Costs and Discounts

A land-only package, which includes housing, breakfasts, two dinners, museum and theatre entrances, walking tours, motorcoach transportation between Prague and Berlin, travel insurance, and tips, costs $2,730. A complete package, which includes all of the above, plus air travel from Louisville and ground transportation to/from the airports, costs $4,090. If you’re flying from an airport other than Louisville, contact EF College Study Tours to see how your costs are affected. Additional meals, optional activities, and free-time activities are not included in the trip price.

Essential information for alums

Discount: Alums and guests receive a special $290 rebate from EF College Study Tours, credited to your account in April.

And another discount: The MFA Program is offering an alums-only early-bird discount of $250 to alumni who sign up by January 10. This discount, available only to alumni of the Spalding MFA program, is credited after you sign up for the trip.

Yet another discount: Repeat travelers with EF College Study Tours receive a $100 credit after signing up with EF.

Total savings available to alums is $640!

Enroll by February 1!

Before you sign up for the trip…

Check out the day-to-day itinerary.

Read essential information about flights, payment options, guests, and more.


When you’re ready to sign up…

To sign up for the Prague/Berlin residency, click or call the toll-free phone number, 1-877-485-4184. Enrollment deadline for alums and their guests is February 1. Sign up by January 10 for the $250 early-bird discount!

Future PGRAs to Have Workshopping Opportunities

Beginning in Fall 2013, alumni who attend residencies as post-graduate residency assistants (PGRAs) will participate as students in workshop, where their own work will receive a full hour of workshop time. Previously, PGRAs sat in workshops as assistants to the workshop leaders. This change is intended to provide a richer and more valuable workshop experience to alumni who serve as PGRAs.

Outside of workshop hours, PGRAs will continue to assist in the MFA office, record lectures, and handle other tasks and responsibilities as assigned by the MFA staff. The pay for PGRAs remains the same: a $200 honorarium, the cost of a shared room at the Brown Hotel for the nine nights of residency (current value $450), and a $300 travel allowance.

PGRAs will be required to submit a worksheet by the announced worksheet deadline; to download, read, and provide written margin comments and overview of students’ worksheets; and to prepare to discuss the workshop booklet’s frontmatter, which consists of published work selected by the faculty for discussion.

The MFA Program considers PGRAs an essential part of residency and greatly values their contributions.

Read more from the July 2013 edition of On Extended Wings here.

Brenner’s Script Picked Up by Disney

Larry Brenner
Larry Brenner

Walt Disney Pictures has obtained the rights to Labyrinth, a screenplay written by alumnus, Larry Brenner. Most media sources laud Brenner with being “discovered” after becoming a finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Script contest. However, long before his plunge into fame, Brenner was honing his skills right here at Spalding University.

Brenner graduated from Spalding’s brief-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing program in 2010 and now teaches as a faculty mentor. The program, which is based on mentor-student relationships, strives to provide individualized curriculums that facilitate highly developed writing skills. Brenner attributes his success to the mentorship he received at Spalding.

“I really feel the education I received at Spalding transformed my writing, both as a screenwriter and a playwright,” says Brenner. “When I’m writing, I now have a good half-dozen mentor voices in my head.”

As he disclosed his inspiration for the story, he described himself as “a big Dungeons & Dragons playing, sci-fi/fantasy geek” who has always been fascinated by mythology. He further explains, “The story for this project has been in the back of my mind for years now and when the opportunity to pitch something to Disney came up, it was one of the first things that sprung to mind.”

Although the screenplay carries the same title of the 1986 classic, Disney’s Labyrinth will not be a remake of the former. Brenner’s screenplay will be produced as an action/adventure story that features a mythical princess heroine who must enter a dangerous labyrinth to save her father. Although it is too early to divulge filming details, Brenner stated that the movie will be a live-action film, not animated.

Now that his screen play has been picked-up by Disney, Brenner reports that he feels “amazing.” In an article he authored for Script Magazine, he states that he was not prepared for success but owes a great debt to the writing professors at Spalding, “partly because they really helped me to refine my craft, but also because they were there to help me with the decision making.”

Final Draft, Inc. Interviews Larry Brenner About His Success Since His Third Place Big Break Screenwriting Contest Win

After his win in the 2010 Big Break Screenwriting Contest, Larry Brenner’s career skyrocketed. Big Break Judge Palek Patel brought the winning script, Bethelem, to his company Roth Films and along with fellow Big Break Judge Mitch Solomon of Magnet Media, they brokered a six–figure deal with Universal.

To add to his success, last month Brenner sold a pitch for his project Labyrinth to Walt Disney Pictures. Joe Mefford of Final Draft, Inc. sat down with Larry Brenner last week to discuss his journey and how the Big Break Screenwriting Contest changed his life.

Larry Brenner
Larry Brenner



Old Louisville, by Spalding MFA’s David Domine, released

old louisville

The University of Georgia Press and Golden Coast Publishing are pleased to announce the publication of OLD LOUISVILLE: Exuberant, Elegant, and Alive, a 248-page coffee table book by David Dominé. Old Louisville, just steps from Spalding University, is among the largest and most significant historic preservation districts in America, and its development reflects the exuberance of a wide variety of patrons and their architects. In OLD LOUISVILLE, David Dominé takes the reader on an intimate tour of fifty residential designs, from grand mansions to cozy cottages, celebrating the passion and dedication of those who recognize the value of its past and have ensured the certainty of its future. The Spalding Mansion is one of the architectural treasures featured in the book.

To celebrate the release of OLD LOUISVILLE: Exuberant, Elegant, and Alive, Louisville book signings are scheduled for Friday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hurstbourne Barnes & Noble, and Saturday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum on St. James Court. The kick-off signing was Friday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Carmichael’s on Frankfort Avenue.

Midnight in Paris

We were closing in on midnight,
the last night of our trip to Paris. We had just finished a night cruise along the Seine and a quick trip to the top of the tallest building in Paris, Montparnasse, to see the glorious Eiffel stand like a toothpick across the city’s expanse. With minutes to spare, we sped across the city to the Eiffel, lit like a Christmas tree, towering like a steel God.
One minute till. The Eiffel is getting ready to twinkle in bursts of light.  2012Summer-Soaring.pdf

Read Stephen Woodward’s take on the Summer 2012 Paris residency, in this issue of 2012Summer-Soaring.pdf.