UMHB hosts annual Writer’s Festival

This year’s Windhover Writer’s Festival featured writing styles from poetry to prose and hosted three keynote writers, as well as a songwriting duo, who presented their work with readings. Each author also hosted a workshop for participants to help sharpen their writing skills, since the idea of the festival is to motivate writers of all levels and skill sets.This year’s Windhover Writer’s Festival featured writing styles from poetry to prose and hosted three keynote writers, as well as a songwriting duo, who presented their work with readings. Each author also hosted a workshop for participants to help sharpen their writing skills, since the idea of the festival is to motivate writers of all levels and skill sets.The festival was hosted on Feb. 14-16 in Bawcom Student Union at UMHB. It is named after the journal, The Windhover, which has been around since 1997, according to the journal’s editor and associate professor of the English department, Dr. Nathaniel Hansen. Writer Suzanne M. Wolfe of England, who now resides in Seattle as a Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University, was one of the presenters. Wolfe’s writing inventory includes book, essays, and blogs. Wolfe is a well-acclaimed Christian writer. Her fiction novel, Confession of X, was based partially on her travels with her husband. Wolfe’s workshop gave attendees tips and pointers regarding fiction writing. The second presenter was Amy Peterson. Peterson is a writer and an adjunct professor at Taylor University. Peterson’s works have been featured in a wide variety of journals and her book, Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World. Peterson’s writing can be raw and honest, but it truly encompasses her Christian background.   See Festival, pg. 3          Her workshop specialized in nonfiction.

The third presenter was Thom Caraway. Caraway is an associate professor at Whitworrth University. Caraway is also the editor-in-chief for Rock&Sling, a journal of witness. He also founded and publishes of Sage Hill Press. His poems have been featured in a many journals throughout the country and his workshop focused on poetry. His reading was interesting and kept the audience entertained as he read some of his best poems. Still on the Hill was the featured musical duo, which makes do with a wide variety of traditional instruments from the Ozarks, such as the banjo, fiddle and harmonica. Still on the Hill hosted a writing workshop as well as a concert on Thursday night.  The addition of music to the Writers’ Festival was a great touch.

Many students enjoyed hearing the band play their unique style of music. A slew of writers from all over the country to serve as panelists. Authors included Elizabeth Dell, Chris Ellery, Kathleen Hart, as well as UMHB’s very own Toby Coley. These panelists read their works of poetry and prose to audiences of students, peers, and festival attendees. In addition to published writers and scholars, the festival hosted a few events that featured student work. These events included the Black History Month Creative Writing Contest Panel and the Creative Writing Showcase. In each of these panels, a few students from UMHB had the chance to share their work in front of their peers, professors and other writers.

There was also an open mic reading on Wednesday evening where students from all over campus shared their personal written works. This annual festival has had a real influence on students, especially those who want to pursue a career in writing. Senior English major Grace Rose says, “My favorite thing about the festival is getting to mingle with writers – published writers, and listen to them read their own work. [The festival] has influenced me by reawakening my own desire to write as well as fostering in me a deeper love for literature.”  Junior English Major, Jordan Eilers said, “I really liked going to the presenters’ readings. It was really interesting and influential to hear them read their own works.”If you missed out on the festival this year, it will be held again next year on February 13-15.

Author: Katrina Wordell

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