The Rose O’Neill Literary House helps the students of Washington College to see themselves as part of a global community of writers: serious, professional, inquisitive, and committed to the craft of writing.
Applying or enrolling here at WC? Visit us at the Lit House!
Tours are available Monday through Friday during 2 set times: 11:45-12:15 and 3:15-3:45. Contact Jennifer Pass in Admissions or just drop in and meet our fabulous and knowledgeable student guides!
Otherwise, our physical space is closed to non-WC visitors, and our events are virtual for 2021-22.
The Literary House brings together students, faculty, alumni, and local community members from across disciplines. It is a cultural center which hosts programs, classes, and student-run clubs and activities. We are dedicated to promoting the articulated word. Our annual events provide access to a wide variety of texts, including fiction, poetry, journalism, creative nonfiction, scholarly prose, songwriting, playwriting, and hybrid forms. Our letterpress studio and Literary House Press introduce participants to both new and old technologies.
Further reading: An Introduction for New Faculty
Our history is anything but boring! The famous poster collection that adorns our walls reads like the best of literary graffiti: Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Allen Ginsberg, Gwendolyn Brooks, Carolyn Forché, Grace Paley, and Claudia Rankine were here. Writers who have visited the Lit House have won Pulitzers, National Book Awards, and Nobel Prizes in Literature.
The Lit House was founded in 1970.“Richmond House,” as it was then known, remained
in its original structure until 1982. Three years later, the Bell House across campus
was acquired thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Betty Brown Casey ’47 and her husband
Eugene B. Casey. The House was renamed in honor of Eugene Casey’s mother, Rose O’Neill
If you’re interested in supporting the work we do here at The Rose O’Neill Literary House, please contact Lit House Director James Allen Hall.
Current funding priorities include our internship program, “Write America,” which has connected students with literary organizations such as Pen Parentis, Copper Canyon Press, local and national newspapers, NPR, and Book TV, as well as with professional authors for whom they serve as research assistants. Another opportunity for giving is our reading series, which the Washington Post has called “the Carnegie Hall of readings.” What makes us special is that our authors meet with students to discuss their writing. Imagine having met with Toni Morrison or recent Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown about your poems and stories! We also publish a national literary journal, Cherry Tree, which features the best literary work by established and emerging authors, and which provides student learning opportunities in editing, marketing, design, and publishing. And each year we run the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, which showcases Washington College’s vibrant literary community for high-school age writers. Help us inspire the next generation of poets, journalists, playwrights, and storytellers!