Writing Marathon

Writing Marathon 2016


In 2002, the New Orleans Writing Project discussed the role of place in getting ideas from writing. They asked, “Can’t environment itself be an ‘invitation?’” As they continued to talk they thought about all the inspirational sites in their city such as the French Quarter. Richard Louth came up with the proposal to go to these places and write. It was at this moment that the writing marathon idea was born.

(note: this history falls under Tim O’Brien’s definition of “story-truth” as opposed to “happening-truth.”)


1. If asked who are you and what are you doing, the only appropriate response is “I’m/we’re writers.”
2. At each writing stop you will have 20 minutes to write, then you will read what you have written to your marathon group.
3. After each writer reads, the appropriate response is “Thank you for sharing.”
4. At your next stop, you may choose to continue writing the piece started a previous site or you may accept the invitation of your current place for writing.
5. If at an eating/drinking establishment, at least half the folks should order something.
6. Marathon begins at 12 PM and ends at 3 PM. At 3, marathoners may return to classroom.

Some Favorite Marathon Destinations for Summer Fellows

(aim for at least three destinations during your marathon, 20 minutes writing, 20 minutes sharing, 10 minutes travel time)

• Riverfront
• Convention Center/Auditorium
• The old Pantlind Hotel Lobby in the Amway Grand
• The fountains outside of Gerald R. Ford Museum
• Rosa Parks Circle
• The Merry Go Round at the Public Museum
• UICA Secretary of State’s office lobby (Fulton and Division)
• Police Department lobby (Monroe and Fulton)
• Children’s Museum
• Veterans’ Memorial Park
• Public Library
• Fountain Street Church