Get your pen and paper ready.
East Tennessee State University’s Second Annual Creative Writing Festival will kick off on April 11 at 10 a.m. in the Reece Museum, and last through the following day.
The festival focuses on the ETSU creative arts magazine, “The Mockingbird,” as well as featuring local writers in a series of workshops and events over the course of two days.
According to ETSU English professor Jesse Graves, the event was very successful last year.
“We had a great turnout in our first year, nearly 300 people over the course of two days,” Graves said. “We hope to see the program grow and grow.”
Registration is not required, and visitors will be permitted to attend as many of the events as they wish.
Several literary big names will be part of the festival. Ishion Hutchinson, who is professor at Cornell University and has been called “Jamaica’s best new poet” by the New York Times, will be there. Kingsport native and author of the novel “Trampoline” Robert Gipe will be part of the festival as well as Amy Wright, author of “Everything in the Universe” and “Cracker Sonnets.”
Graves believes the event will be a great literary opportunity for attendees.
“I see the festival as an opportunity to connect our students and community with a rare opportunity to encounter the perspectives of serious artists on the craft of writing,” Graves said. “I want to bring in great writers who are also great teachers, who can offer workshops and presentations where the attendees can generate some new writing or reading habits of their own.”
Graves hopes that the event will be especially beneficial to bringing awareness to the new creative writing minor the university offers, and encourage students with their own writing.
The festival will include several writing workshops, such as non-fiction, poetry and panel discussions.
It will conclude on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. with the fifth annual Jack Higgs Memorial Reading.
At that time, Hutchinson will read from his works and hold a Q&A. In addition to the festival, ETSU also has outlets for writers with clubs like Literati Creative Writing Club.
“One of the great things about creative writing is that it encourages students to make a record of their own experiences and better articulate their thoughts and ideas,” Graves said.
Attendance is free and open to the public. For more information about the festival, contact Graves at 439-6674.