In February, the university’s English department hosted its annual writer’s festival. This is a three-day event devoted to creativity and learning where students, staff, faculty and guest authors can learn about and share writing.
“I think that it’s important for the campus community and the broader community to be exposed to the literature that’s being created in the here and now. The festival is a place where both writing and faith are taken seriously,” Professor of English Dr. Nathaniel Hansen said of the event, which he has now directed for three years.
Although the event takes place over a span of three days, many months of prior preparation are necessary.
“The planning process begins about a year ahead of the festival when I start contacting potential featured writers,” Hansen said.
Once I line up the featured writers, I create a general call for papers for local, regional, state, and national writers to read as part of a panel. It’s a process that I very much enjoy.”
Hansen likes the interaction between writers of diverse places and walks of life.
“It’s a pleasure to watch writers of varying levels and differing backgrounds interact with one another. It’s also a great opportunity for our students, not just English majors, to hear from talented writers.”
Hansen was pleased with this year’s turnout and looks forward to the coming year.
“Events were well attended this year, and we had more festival participants than in prior years. Some participants traveled from Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma,” he said.
Kelsey Belcher, a senior English major and president of Sigma Tau Delta said, “I was a student volunteer. I worked the book and check-in tables, and helped Dr. Hansen, who runs the Writers’ Festival, with other miscellaneous tasks in order to keep the festival running smoothly.”
Belcher believes it’s necessary to expose the campus to various writing forms with events like the writer’s festival.
“Writing is important, because it provides an outlet for self-expression and fosters creative and academic interaction with others,” she said.
Grace Lindig, a senior English major who also worked a table at the festival said, “It was truly an awesome experience and I’m sad I won’t be here next year.”