THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING RESOURCE CENTER (IPRC) recently announced the creation of a year-long course in "Writing, Comics, and Independent Publishing," dedicated to the idea that as e-books and digital readers gain a foothold in the industry—as all predictions suggest they will—and content becomes ever more available in digital form, well-crafted "books as objects" will be increasingly valued.

The course is geared toward teaching students to produce high-quality books that contain content that they themselves have created. To that end, a full semester is purely content-oriented, and students will choose between two tracks—one dedicated to creative writing, and the other to graphic novels/comics. Instructors include writers like Kevin Sampsell, Craig Thompson, and Ariel Gore. The second semester, overseen by former Mercury Art Director Mark Searcy, is devoted to production, design, publication, and new media, with courses in letterpress, InDesign, screenprinting, binding, and web design and social media instruction.

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"What we're shooting for," IPRC Director Justin Hocking says, "is the creation of a new 'school,' not only in the physical sense but also a new school of writers, cartoonists, and graphic novelists with the skills and resources to independently publish their own work. To me, it feels akin to the local food movement, by which local growers derive satisfaction and a superior product by using local resources and landscape."

Details on the IPRC's new program can be found at iprc.org. For more information on supporting your local literary community, check out portland.readinglocal.com—and don't forget about next week's Portland Zine Symposium, July 24-26; info at pdxzines.com.