History of the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
"The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House at NYU has proved to be the loveliest of boons to the New York literary community at large. It is a total delight to be there. The intimacy of the place combines with the fervor of literary enthusiasm, and the result is both charming and nourishing."
-Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America
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of the Writers House
In January 2007, with generous support from Lillian Vernon, the house became the home of NYU's distinguished Creative Writing Program. Since then, the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House has become a vibrant New York literary landmark known for its lively readings and salons. The townhouse is the ideal home for the creative writing program, and is located in the same Greenwich Village neighborhood where so many writers--James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Hart Crane, E.E. Cummings, Frank O'Hara, Mark Twain, Richard Wright, and Marianne Moore, to name just a few--once lived and worked. The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House allows writers--established and emerging--to share their work in an inspiring setting. Students come to the house to attend workshops, craft classes, and special events, and also to gather informally, seeking out quiet corners in which to read and write. The beautiful reception floor, which features skylights and stained glass by 19th century master D. Maitland Armstrong, is an ideal setting for the intimate readings, literary salons, panel discussions, book parties, lectures, and seminars that are held in the house throughout the year.
About Lillian Vernon
Born in Germany, Lillian Vernon emigrated to the United States with her family in 1937 before the onset of World War II. With only wedding gift money in her pocket, she placed an advertisement in Seventeen magazine for personalized purses and belts. She received an overwhelming response and her business was launched. The Lillian Vernon Corporation, founded in 1965, went public in 1987, making her the first woman to found a company publicly traded on the American stock exchange.
A philanthropist as well as an entrepreneur, Ms. Vernon has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and has received several honors, including the Big Brothers/Big Sisters National Hero Award, the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame, and The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. She is a New York University trustee and a member of the Sir Harold Acton Society.
Lillian Vernon's many gifts to the NYU Creative Writing Program include the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, the Lillian Vernon Graduate Fellowship, and the Lillian Vernon Writer-in-Residence professorship which brings a prominent writer to Writers House to teach each spring. Lillian Vernon Writers-in-Residence have included Jayne Anne Phillips (2007), Anne Carson (2008), and Francine Prose (2009). Thanks to the generous support of Ms. Vernon, the Lillian