The annual Writer’s Festival hosted by the literary journal Windhover is right around the corner. Once again, students, faculty and staff will get the opportunity to participate in workshops, keynote sessions and readings by select artists. The line-up of events begins Feb. 6.
Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jessica Hooten made note of the success of last year’s Writer’s Festival and the surprisingly positive student reactions. She hopes for the same outcome again.
“I think most students were surprised at how much they enjoyed the festival. Many of them attend for extra credit and then find themselves attending more than one session because they really love the writers,” she said.
Some of the guest speakers for this year’s event include Ron Hansen, Leslie Leyland Fields and Andrea Dilley. Hansen is the author of The Assassination of Jesse James, which has a film adaption starring Brad Pitt.
In addition to being a fisherwoman, Fields is a Christian writer who has published a total of eight books.
Dilley is the author of the memoir Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt. She is also a documentary film
producer with work airing on American Public Television.
Most of the same events, like Open Mic Night, will return this year, but some changes have been made in order to give students a chance to interact with the guest artists.
Hooten said, “This year Chapel will co-host one of our writers, so more students will have the opportunity to encounter the great speakers we bring to campus. Also, all of the events will occur during the week, again to give more students more chances to see writers,”
A few other surprises will be in store for attendees.
“The Sigma Tau Delta society will have a time to lunch with our keynotes, which has never been provided before. Finally, there is a free concert with Lamar Stockton that I think the students will love,” Hooten said.
Senior Christian studies and psychology double major and student assistant for the Writer’s Festival, Laura Phipps, attended last year for academic credit. She sat through most of the poetry sessions and found them to be interesting. This time around, she is excited for one special event in particular.
“Probably hearing Lamar Stockton play. I really enjoy him. But in regards to literature and the Writer’s Festival, I’m excited to listen to memoirs by Andrea Dilley. She has some interesting pieces that we’ve got to look at, and I’m excited to meet Leslie Fields. She seems really fun, eccentric and outgoing,” she said.
Assistant Professor of English and editor of the Windhover Dr. Nathaniel Hansen shares what’s he’s most looking forward to.
“I’m most excited to hear the keynote speakers as well as to put this year’s issue of Windhover on sale. I’m also looking forward to hosting the open-mic reading,” he said.
Most of the Writer’s Festival’s events will be free and open to the public. Registration will begin Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. in the lobby of Manning Chapel. Students may go to the official website http://academics.umhb.edu/writersfestival/home for more information and a complete schedule of events.
Hooten hopes more people will attend this year and openly discuss faith and the literary arts.
“The festival intends to bring together writers and artists to celebrate the arts, learn from one another, share works in progress and enjoy the company of fellow writers,” she said. “It is a rare opportunity for students to hear from and interact with such world-changers as these writers.”