Forget spring cleaning. Let’s do some spring creative writing!

If the statement above tickles your fancy, the East Tennessee State University Creative Writing Spring Literary Festival will be taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

According to Dr. Jesse Graves, the in-residence-poet at ETSU and director of the event, this is the festival’s third year at the university.

“The goal is to bring the ETSU community together to celebrate the creative spirit through writing,” Graves said. “We bring in talented and nationally recognized writers in a variety of genres to offer workshops, advice, and readings of their work.”

This year the event will feature not only poetry and fiction, but also, for the first time, young adult writing. According to Graves, the festival has something for everyone.

“This opportunity is not only for creative writing minors, or English majors, but for all ETSU students, and alums, who would like to learn a little more about writing and publishing,” he said.

Those who would like to participate in the future do not have to register or jump through hoops to do so.

“Any student who would like to take part in the planning or organizing of the event should simply email me,” Graves said. “I am always happy to hear from students interested in learning more about expressing themselves through writing.”

The event currently has many student volunteers who, according to Graves, have the benefit of meeting the visiting writers and spending extra time with others who are interested in creative work.

All functions of the festival will be taking place in the university’s Reece Museum, with the exception of the keynote Higgs Reading by Joy Harjo taking place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Culp Auditorium.

In addition to Harjo’s sessions, the festival will also feature afternoon writing workshops and presentations on poetry, young adult and fiction writing by several noted guest authors, including: Bianca Lynne Spriggs, an “Affrilachian” poet who writes from a feminist perspective; Courtney Stevens, an educator and young adult novelist whose books explore gender and orientation experiences in the small-town South; and Mark Powell, an Appalachian State University faculty member and award-winning novelist whose work examines the spiritual and social implications of U.S. military and intelligence operations.

The festival will also include the announcement of the 2018 winners of the “Mockingbird” awards. The “Mockingbird” is ETSU’s the student literary and art magazine.

For more information on the festival or to participate in the future, you can email Graves at