April 9 and 10 marked the 4th annual Creative Writing Festival, an event that culminates a series of creative writing programs offered for students and the community.

“We hope to introduce students to writers whose work they have studied in and outside class, and to offer valuable instruction, perspective and experience beyond classroom walls,” said Catherine Childress, the festival assistant director and adjunct faculty member.

The Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Bert Bach welcomes the festival, which is a combination of many ideas, contributions and hard work of many. The event is the brainchild of Dr. Jesse Graves, an assistant professor and poet in residence at ETSU.

Graves is a prolific author who has written three poetry collections, co-edited several other volumes of poetry and is a recipient of the Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing as well as the James Still Award for Writing. Graves was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2015.

The literary festival coincides with the release of “The Mockingbird,” the student arts and literary magazine published as a partnership between the ETSU Department of Literature & Language and the Department of Art & Design.

The scheduled events opened with recognizing student writers and artists for their prize winning submissions to the magazine.

The two day festival featured workshops and other presentations by Monic Ductan, Jonathan Johnson, Tom Chiarella, Isabel Sobrino and Abby Lewis with the keynote speaker being the best-selling and award-winning author, Silas House.

The highlight of the event each year is The Jack Higgs Reading Series, which serves now as the closing program of the festival.

The Jack Higgs Reading Series, now in it’s 7th year, is named after former ETSU Professor Jack Higgs. Higgs was a beloved English professor who wrote a multitude of literary pieces and also was the first faculty sponsor of “The Mockingbird.” He died in 2015 at the age of 83.

“This festival provides our students, as well as faculty and community members, with unique access to writers they have long admired and modeled and brings us all together to celebrate a shared love of the beauty and power of novels, stories, poems, songs and words,” Childress added.

For more information about the Creative Writing Festival, visit https://etsu.edu/cas/litlang/writingfestival.