The public is invited to join Rhode Island native Ann Hood – the best-selling author of 14 novels, three memoirs and books for young adults – for an afternoon of conversation and writing from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Salve Regina University.

The free event, which celebrates the launch of the Newport MFA at Salve – the state’s first low-residency master of fine arts degree program in creative writing – will be held in Bazarsky Lecture Hall at O’Hare Academic Center on Ochre Point Avenue. Hood, who serves as the founding director of this new 48-credit MFA program, will offer a glimpse into her writing process and conduct short break-out sessions of personal writing and discussion.

The event will be followed by a reception of desserts and beverages, and Ann Hood will be available to sign her books. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to:

“The Newport MFA is thrilled to throw open the doors and invite all literary types to join us in our first public event,” said Jen McClanaghan, Salve’s writer-in-residence and The Newport MFA’s program director. “Not only are we celebrating our new degree program, we are gathering to talk about the writing life while fostering community among local authors, poets, memoirists, those who aspire to be, and those who just love to read.”

The Newport MFA begins in June, offering aspiring writers the opportunity to pursue the terminal degree in their field by attending eight-day residencies in Newport twice a year (with an optional winter residency being offered in Havana, Cuba) that will connect them with established professionals in a location steeped in literary history. Henry James, Thornton Wilder and Edith Wharton are among those to be inspired by Newport.

For more information or to reserve your spot, call the Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education at (800) 637-0002 or email

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.