The Bluffton University English Department will host an English Festival Tuesday, Nov. 21. Cynthia Bandish, chair of the department, is tasked with organizing the event, which is open to students from all majors.
The guest authors this year will be Andrew Hudgins and Erin McGraw. According to Bandish, Hudgins’s book, “After the Lost War,” is a novel written in verse form.
Verse form means that the novel is written like a poem. Rather than having paragraphs, there will be stanzas, and the language used may be more poetic.
“The book from Andrew Hudgens is based on a man who was a soldier in Confederacy, but also wrote poetry. It’s written as a sequence of poems in which he experiences his life at war while continuing to write poetry,” Bandish said.
This book, along with McGraw’s book, “The Good Life,” will have sections read at 4 p.m. in the Reading Room of Musselman Library.
“The English Festival was designed to bring a published writer to campus, as well as bring high school students for a day to explore writing,” Bandish said.
The festival includes a number of activities during the day for Bluffton students, as well as high school students.
“There is a writing workshop with the guest authors, and there is also a forum presentation given by them after the workshop,” Bandish said.
Students will then be given a break to eat lunch, which is followed by additional workshops and events.
“After lunch, there are workshops conducted by Bluffton faculty,” Bandish said. “The afternoon workshops have different themes or topics. This year, there is one about poetry, one about fiction writing, and one spent looking at literature. The individual topics within these workshops will vary a little.”
Jamie Lyn Fletcher will offer the first workshop“Writing Fiction from Art.” Kate Spike will teach the second workshop, “Reading People: Understanding Characters through Close, Textual Analysis,” and Jeff Gundy will offer the third workshop,“How to Make a Good Poem Better?”
In addition to setting up the festival, Bandish will also teach at workshops every other year.
“Kate and I alternate what years we teach. Last year I ran a workshop, so this year it’s her turn,” Bandish said.
This will be the thirty-fourth year for the festival, which has pulled in some famous authors, the most famous being Karen Joy Fowler.
“She wrote the Jane Austen Book Club, which was made into a movie in 2007,” Bandish said.
Many of the guest authors who have appeared throughout the years are connections from faculty members who teach writing classes.