New Conference Draws Scores of Famed Authors

Published: September 24, 2013 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Southern Utah University will present its 2013 Creative Writing Conference, but this year brings not only new faces but also an entirely new program. Combining efforts with the Utah Humanities Council, SUU’s Department of English now has the ability to bring to campus highly acclaimed national writers for The Art of Literature: A Celebration of Authors, Books, and Place series.

This partnership between SUU and the Utah Humanities Council will involve bringing famed writers to SUU’s campus through creative writing and education conference venues and through a series of readings, class visit, workshops and panel discussions, also associated with the Utah Humanities Book Festival.

Danielle Dubrasky, associate professor of creative writing and SUU’s The Art of Literature organizer, said of the intent of the change in programming, “It’s so important not only as a student but also as a writer to get this kind of exposure to established writers. Any one is welcome to attend and hear one of the many visiting writers read his or her own work, ask questions about the writing process, and get advise on their own writing.”

Majority of events associated through the Art of Literature series are free and open to the public, including the readings, panel discussions, and exhibits.

Conferences and workshops have already kicked off and will continue this week on Thursday, September 26 with Jane Hirshfield, author of seven collections of poetry and a book of essays. She will give a lecture that day at 11:30 a.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall located within the Hunter Conference Center. That same evening, creative nonfiction writer Robin Hemley will give a reading in the Gilbert Great Hall at 7 p.m. as part of the Utah Humanities Books Festival.

On the following Friday, September 28, Hemley and Hirshfield will be the stars of the 2013 Creative Writing/Teaching Conference. They will both conduct craft workshops to help aspiring writers with their creative nonfiction and poetry, giving tips and tricks to writing a successful piece of nonfiction.

The Art of Literature events continue through Homecoming week with the Collage of Poetry and Quilts: A Poetry and Art Exhibit. Marrying two complimentary art forms, the Gerald R. Sherratt Library will host this exhibit on October 8 at 4 p.m. on the Garden Level with a reception to follow. This exhibit will feature poems written by SUU students and alumni inspired by art quilts, which were on display last year in the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery Everything in Between: Art Quilts, Fabric Collage, and Embroidery.

Next in the line up is an interdisciplinary panel discussion, Literature and the Western Landscape, which hosts an impressive roster. Starting with Britt Mace, SUU professor of psychology, Emily Dean, SUU assistant professor of archeology, Michael Sowder, poet and associate professor of English at Utah State University, and Laura Tohe, award winning poet. This will take place October 17 at 11:30 a.m. in the Starlight Room located within the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

The final Art of Literature event will be October 29 with a triple dose of writing experience starting with hometown favorite, Jim Aton, SUU professor of English and published author, Greer Chesher, environmental writer, and Craig Childs, contributing environmental writer to the New York times, Los Angeles Times and High Country News.

These three authors will participate in a panel discussion and readings throughout that afternoon in the Gilbert Great Hall the Charles Hunter Room all located within the Hunter Conference Center.

University co-sponsors of The Art of Literature include SUU Convocations, the President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, Friends of the Library, the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the English Department. Community partners include Artisan’s Gallery, Main Street Books, Cedar City Arts Council, and Z-Arts of Springdale.

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