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Straight Outta Fiction: Southern Literary Festival

From April 20 to 22 four members of the English club attended a trip to the Southern Literary Festival. One professor and three students were able to participate in many of the offered breakout sessions. These gave a lot of insight into preexisting literature pieces and let the students listen to lectures from established professors or authors.

During these breakout sections participants were instructed to write about the topic of the session and were even allowed to share these short works with the rest of the class participants. On top of these events, there were also readings for people who placed in the Southern Literary Festival’s annual undergraduate writing competition.

A student from our university, Alaina Wilder, placed second place for her play, "Guess I Won't Miss You," and third place for her critical essay "A Personal Mirror: Cinder's Individual Development through Cyborg Technology in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles." When asked about how she felt while reading her literary pieces, Alaina said “I was a little nervous at first, but I really enjoyed it. As it went on, I feel like it got more enjoyable and [easier].” She was happy that her family came to support her during her reading. Continuing, Alaina said that her favorite part of the festival was, “reading the play that [she] wrote about [her] great uncle and seeing [her] family’s reaction to it.”

Courtney Coulter went to the festival as well and said that the parts she enjoyed the most were, “learning how to think on the spot creatively” and “getting out of [her] comfort zone”. When asked if she had any pieces that she liked writing during the festival, and she read a piece she created about a unicorn with many powers, along with other mermaid and unicorn characters. Dr. Kerns took the group of students to the festival and said that “[she] thought that there was an impressive variety of panels.” She also liked the technology tools panel a lot, and said that it was very “informative,” stating, “I didn’t realize how many tools were out there to help writers out with their pieces.”

Students who went to the festival were also given the opportunity to network and meet participants from other universities who had similar interests. Friends and memories were made at the Southern Literary Festival, and much valuable information was learned during the time the English club spent there. Didn’t get in on the action this year? Be on the lookout to join in the future when BMCU hosts the Southern Literary Festival in spring of 2025.


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