The 26th Annual English Festival

March 26, 2013

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors are invited onto campus for the English Festival, an intensive day of literary and writing activities. Students meet with the guest author, attend workshops, discuss festival readings and compete in writing contests.

English Festival speaker 2013

Guest author

Rebecca McClanahan was born in Lafayette, Indiana, and lived the first year of her life less than a mile from her maternal grandparents' farm, the spiritual homeplace to which she often returned for visits during her childhood and adult years.

2013 Festival reading list

Students are encouraged to read the following works by Rebecca McClanahan prior to the festival:

  • The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings
  • "A dazzling first book of personal essays...each one so sensitively (and sensuously) rooted in actual existence that I continually had to remind myself that I was reading about someone's life, not living it myself. Writing rarely gets this emotionally real."
    - Robert Atwan, editor of The Best American Essays
  • Deep Light
  • "...this assemblage is filled with great good humor and infectious joy, even as it encompasses death and disappointment."
    - Judith Kitchen, The Georgia Review
Festival workshops & events

The day's events will feature an invigorating mix of impromptu writing, college-level discussions and sessions with the guest author.

Festival workshops

  • Workshop I: How Do You Keep the Pages Turning?

    Explore how to write fiction that engages your reader. Led by Bluffton University fiction writing professor Susan Carpenter.

  • Workshop II: Words and Meanings

    Explore McClanahan's writing with Bluffton University English professor Kathryn Spike.

  • Workshop III: Poetry

    Jeff Gundy, Bluffton University English professor and poet, will lead discussion of poems submitted for the poetry contest and ways of progressing as a poet.

Other festival events

    • Forum:  All festival registrants will join Bluffton University students and faculty for the weekly Forum program, featuring guest author Rebecca McClanahan.
    • Oral Interpretation of Literature: Bluffton University students will present oral interpretations of literature.
    • Q & A with Rebecca McClanahan: A chance for informal interchange with the guest author.