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Southern Literary Festival 2024

The Southern Literary Festival is an annual event where undergraduates from Southern colleges come together to learn and discuss writing techniques. This year the University of Mississippi in Oxford hosted it. The festival had multiple breakout sessions hosted by Ole Miss’s professors and published authors.

BMCU’s English Club took four students: Baleigh Bray, a junior English writing major; Lauren Milford, a junior English Education major; Courtney Coulter, a senior English literature major; and Belle Kennedy, a English writing minor.

Several BMCU students who attended mentioned how much they loved the festival. Their experiences varied when it came to their favorite parts of the event. One student really enjoyed the social aspects of the festival, and another really enjoyed the MFA question and answer table.

Baleigh Bray mentioned her favorite part about southern literary festival was the social aspect of it all. She stated, “I was thankful to meet people who shared the same love and interests for writing and English like me! I learned a lot and really enjoyed the whole experience.” Baleigh noted that she is also excited for the festival to be held at Blue Mountain Christian University next year.

Belle Kennedy also spoke about her experience at the Southern Literary festival. She stated her favorite part was the keynote speaker, Andre Dubus III. She stated that he was “a phenomenal writer and speaker [and] I took out of the lecture just to start writing.” She also mentioned that she went to one workshop about list poetry, describing it as “really good”. Like Baleigh, she is excited for the next one to be held at Blue Mountain Christian University.

Courtney Coulter really enjoyed the MFA table as well as the spare time to get writing done. She stated that “the master’s table was really helpful because I am indeed thinking about master’s programs.” She also mentioned that she enjoyed the down time for writing during the breaks in between the sessions. She mentioned that “this year I met more people and I think it is because I finally got out of my shell.”

The festival was concluded by Dr. Fisher and Dr. Kerns, who discussed BMCU’s plans as the host of the Southern Literary Festival next spring. Students and faculty will be encouraged to attend and explore the festival’s offerings when the festival comes home to BMCU where it first started.


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