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Atlantic Cape professor Mary Oves wins humor writing residency

11/30/2021 | Media Contact: Claire Sylvester | (609) 343-4933
Mary Oves headshot

Atlantic Cape Community College English professor Mary Oves was recently named one of three grand prize winners of the Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program, where she will turn her experiences in widowhood into a book.

Oves, of Ocean City, teaches Composition I and II at Atlantic Cape. She has blogged for the last four years about the humorous side of widowhood.

“There are about 250 million widows in the world, and we have been brushed aside like a dirty little secret,” said Oves, the mother of three sons. “Society dictates that there are only two stages of widowhood: grief and remarriage. Enough with the grief tomes in Barnes and Noble. I’m here to provide some laughs.”

As the winner of the international competition, amusingly dubbed “A Hotel Room of One’s Own,” Oves will be flown to Dayton, Ohio March 226 to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton. At the close of the workshop, she and the other two winners will remain at the Marriott at the University of Dayton for an additional two weeks to work on their funny projects.

The Humorist-in-Residence Program gives emerging comedy writers the opportunity to step away from their regular routines to live and procrastinate/work as full-time writers. According to the contest rules, the idea is to provide private, uninterrupted time for the winning writers to dive into their comedy projects without restrictions or responsibilities.

During her stay, Oves will spend her time turning her writings into a book.

Mike Reiss, veteran writer for The Simpsons and a finalist judge, called Oves’ writing sample “one of the funniest pieces of writing I read this year on a topic I couldn't imagine any humor in: widowhood.”

“Or rather, people's cringe-y, awkward reactions to widowhood, trying so hard to be sensitive that they say the most insensitive things,” Reiss said. “Not only does she find comedy in this grim subject, but her wit is warm, human and forgiving.”