By fostering the art of creative writing, the mission of Inprint is to inspire readers and writers in Houston.
Inprint envisions Houston, Texas, as a city where the literary arts are a defining resource. Inprint serves as a vital wellspring of literary life, both locally and nationally. Thanks in large part to Inprint’s activities and support, Houston is a vibrant community of creative writers and readers, rich with workshops, readings, forums, and other kinds of literary activity. Writers from all backgrounds and parts of the world delight in coming to Houston to read, teach, and study creative writing; and thousands of Houstonians, recognizing the value and impact of the written word, join in Inprint programs to write, read, and support the literary arts. The community is enriched by some of the nation’s top emerging writers, who study at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and teach at Inprint and in community centers, schools, universities, and other places throughout the Houston area.
As Houston’s premier literary arts nonprofit organization, Inprint annually serves more than 12,000 readers and writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Inprint programs include:
Literary performance programs—such as the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, now in its 34th season, which has presented more than 350 celebrated writers from 28 countries, including winners of 56 Pulitzer Prizes, 53 National Book Awards, and 7 Nobel Prizes; Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People, a family-friendly reading series presenting the nation’s top middle-grade authors; the Inprint Poetry Buskers, spreading the joy of poetry by writing poems on demand on typewriters at events throughout the city; and collaborations with local and national organizations.
Writing workshops—Inprint Writers Workshops, in a variety of literary genres for the general public run 8-10 weeks, and Inprint Intensive Workshops are 1-2 day workshops; Teachers-as-Writers Workshops, 8-10 week tuition-free workshops for K-12 teachers; Memoir Workshops for Senior Citizens at area community centers; and the Inprint Life-Writing Workshops for Houston Methodist Hospital employees.
Support for the next generation of literary writers, including $3 million to date in Inprint fellowships, juried prizes, and other direct support for graduate students at the renowned University of Houston Creative Writing Program, writers who go on to publish books, win awards, serve as educators, and enrich the cultural life of Houston and other communities nationwide.
1520 West Main
Houston, Texas 77006
Inprint House is located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, in the same neighborhood as The Menil Collection and St. Thomas University. Click here to see map.
Board of Directors 2018/2019
Eleanor Gilbane, Chair
Kevin Lewis, President
Marcia West, Vice President
Robbi Jones, Secretary/Treasurer
Katharine Bowdoin Barthelme
Mary S. Dawson
Madeleine Callery Hussey
David Enrique Ruiz
Advisory Board 2018/2019
Carolyn Russell Brock
Nicole E. Clark
Joanie Y. Hare
Inprint was founded in 1983 by a group of community leaders who sought to address a need in Houston for greater support and appreciation of the literary arts. They envisioned Houston as a city of letters, a place where writers come to study, work, and make a life for themselves, thereby enhancing the city and making the power of the written word vital to its citizens. The founders—Glenn Cambor, Karl Kilian, and Gay Block—soon recruited others to the cause.
The founders knew that supporting the nascent and already distinguished University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP) was crucial to realizing this vision, and the support of the UH CWP became a raison d’être for Inprint, resulting in a powerful synergy connecting a community nonprofit literary arts organization, students in a university-based creative writing program, and a major American city. Since its inception, Inprint has provided fellowships, prizes, and other support to UH CWP students of more than $2.8 million, enabling the university to recruit some of the country’s most talented emerging writers to live and work in Houston. Thanks to Inprint’s support, the UH CWP continues to be one of the nation’s most renowned creative writing programs, with a growing international reputation; and the students and alumni, in addition to enriching our literary tradition, provide a wellspring of talent from which Inprint and many other Houston-area schools, colleges, and organizations draw writing instructors, teachers, and writers.
As the organization has blossomed, Inprint has nurtured a vibrant literary life in Houston among diverse social, racial, economic, and age groups by launching and developing several essential community literary performance and educational programs. Inprint’s flagship performance program is the prestigious Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, founded by the UH CWP in 1980 as the Houston Reading Series. Now in its 34th season, the Series is a nationally renowned literary showcase that has presented the world’s leading writers in Houston—more than 300 since 1980, including winners of seven Nobel Prizes, 56 Pulitzer Prizes, 53 National Book Awards, 44 National Book Critics Circle Awards, and 12 Man Booker Prizes, as well as 17 U. S. Poets Laureate—at the city’s top downtown performance venues and at almost no cost to the public.
Another reading series, Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People, which presents the nation’s top middle-grade writers in Houston free of charge, was officially added to Inprint programs in 2007. Working closely with school districts and libraries throughout the greater Houston area, Cool Brains! provides a way for young readers and their families and teachers to meet their favorite authors and build a lifelong love of reading and writing. To date, Cool Brains! has presented 24 of the most acclaimed and beloved children’s writers, focusing on readers ages eight to 12.
Throughout the 1990s, other Inprint literary performance programs enriched Houston’s cultural life. Inprint’s Literary Conversations, from 1993 to 2000, presented major writers and other artists speaking on poetry, fiction, playwriting, the personal essay, biography and memoir, science writing, and music and literature, in collaboration with many other Houston arts organizations. From 1995 to 2003, Inprint collaborated with Brazos Bookstore and other arts and cultural groups on a number of marathon readings featuring dozens of community members reading aloud and celebrating such great works as Dante’s Inferno, Joyce’s Ulysses, Beowulf, Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.
In fall 2006, Inprint launched a Studio Series, featuring emerging writers from across the country in public readings and community outreach events. Each of these writers also held conferences with graduate students at the UH CWP, providing valuable mentoring at a time when the faculty was short-handed. Eight writers took part in the Studio Series over two years. The program was discontinued due to the success of faculty hiring at UH.
Inprint’s literary educational programs play a key role in developing a community of writers in Houston, today offering more than 35 writing workshops per year that serve the general public, senior citizens, K-12 teachers, at-risk children, and others with intensive writing instruction. Inprint’s Writers Workshops, named Houston’s “best place for aspiring writers” by the Houston Press, have since 1991 provided local writers with 8-10 week workshops that help them to hone their skills and prepare work for publication, in workshops led by published writers, including many alumni of and students in the UH CWP. Limited to 12, the Inprint Writers Workshops provide an invaluable and intensive workshop experience. In conjunction with the workshops, Inprint also offered The Business of Writing, from 1996 to 2002, a one-day conference presenting several of the nation’s leading editors, agents, and writers, designed to provide aspiring writers with an understanding of how to get their work published.
Inprint’s After-School Youth Writing Residency Workshop was founded by a UH CWP student in 1995, and has been offered at Project Row Houses, SHAPE Community Center, and Finnigan Park Community Center, providing an invaluable after-school activity free of charge for community schoolchildren.
Since 1996, Inprint Memoir Workshops for Senior Citizens have provided senior citizens from across Houston with an activity that revives memories, preserves family and community histories, and gives seniors a vital sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Offered at senior centers in different parts of the city, from the north side and Fifth Ward to the east end and the southwest side, these year-round workshops led by community writers and UH CWP alumni/students and culminate each year with the publication of an anthology of the participants’ work and a community celebration.
Inprint’s Teachers-as-Writers Workshops were founded in 1997 to fill a gap in teacher training, providing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction workshops that sharpen the skills of K-12 teachers. These free 8-10 week workshops, which serve 75 teachers per year from throughout the Houston area, are predicated on the idea that better writers make better writing teachers. Teachers learn new techniques for the classroom. The workshops also are personally enriching, which aids in retention and helps teachers to keep their creative juices flowing.
After exploring possible collaborations with the medical community in Houston, Inprint established Life Writing Workshops at Houston Methodist Hospital in spring 2007. These workshops, led by UH CWP graduate students and alumni, serve employees at Houston Methodist at all levels, from doctors to orderlies to the lobby pianist. This program is a model of exceptional, meaningful, and innovative workforce development. The interdisciplinary approach embraced in the workshops, combining healthcare and creative writing, provides uncommon opportunities for professional and personal enrichment.
In 2008, Inprint established the Inprint Poetry Buskers Program, which sends poets with typewriters to various festivals and events throughout the greater Houston area. The buskers write poems-on-demand free of charge on topics chosen by the recipient, taking poetry literally out to the streets and inspiring the public with spontaneous poetic whimsy, creativity, and skill. Buskers are primarily students and alumni of the UH CWP. Look for the Inprint Poetry Buskers at a public event in your area soon.
Inprint’s programs, events, and educational activities have achieved recognition in Houston and beyond. According to the late Pulitzer Prize winning novelist John Updike, “The good folks of Houston should be grateful to have such an institution operating in their midst.” Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, speaks to Inprint’s value and uniqueness: “Inprint gives a kind of center to literary life in Houston, with its tentacles going out in different directions. . . . I don’t think there is anything like Inprint in the country, and I’ve been to a lot of cities. Believe me, I’d like to find it.” Inprint was twice ranked #1 in the Texas Commission on the Arts competition for literary grants, and received a TCA Star Award for excellence in marketing. For more than a decade, Inprint has received national endorsement in the form of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, Inprint Writers Workshops, and Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People have been voted “Best of Houston” by the Houston Press on several occasions; H-Texas magazine chose Inprint Writers Workshops as the city’s “best adult education program,” and the Houston Chronicle singled out Cool Brains! for bringing the “superstars of children’s and young-adult literature to town, making it a truly cool addition to the literary scene.”
Today, Inprint is at the center of Houston’s vibrant literary community, serving more than 14,000 people annually and presenting and championing diverse programming for readers and writers throughout the area. For more than three decades, it has enriched the city’s intellectual capital and made the literary world accessible to all Houstonians.
National Advisory Council
Naomi Shihab Nye