Friends of Writers is happy to report that its very-first-ever Annual Spring Gala, held the evening of May 6th in New York City, was a warm and wonderful gathering of old and new friends who were treated to 360 degree views of the city, a good dinner, a lively and humorous auction masterminded by Pete Turchi, and who, as a rare delight, were invited to witness Bill Irwin, Meryl Streep and Stephen Mo Hanan exercise their talents on behalf of the CHS Scholarship Fund.  In true Swanannoa style, the evening concluded with an hour of exuberant dancing. And, lest we forget, the sold-out and generous crowd of 208 sang Ellen Bryant Voigt “Happy Birthday” exactly three days before her actual 70th.

FOW542a9:50 p.m. Peter Turchi, in full command of the Live Auction, and Bill Irwin, coaxing the guests to ever higher bids.

The end result of all this fun was a serious achievement: enough monies were raised to fulfill the endowment of the Carol Houck Smith Scholarship Fund and to begin awarding scholarship support for final semester students in the WWMFA Program for Writers. Ms. Smith’s life-long commitment to helping writers toward their first books of poetry or fiction will now be felt at Warren Wilson as ongoing scholarship support, and we are grateful for her original bequest, and to all those whose efforts made possible a good evening.

A first gallery of photos is posted at the MFA Program website to give an idea of what happened; more— including those of Ms. Streep applying lipstick to Ms. Voigt, so that the final item to be auctioned might bear important traces not only of our Special Guests, but also of our Program Founder— to follow!

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