Southern Literary Festival 2015: A Review by our staff

Dr. Donna Gessell (faculty supervisor)

Kathryn Hinds’s session on poetry, attended by about fifty participants, started with her assertion about her poetic practice. She argued that using form—rather than free verse—leaves her subconscious freer to make connections. From there, the session was a freewheeling discussions of how words and images make connections, her words and images making connections among all of the participants.

Diane Jagels

The Southern Literary Festival was a fantastic experience. It was so incredible to see so many people who love writing from all over the southern U.S. in one place. The Open Mic Night on Thursday, March 26 was so entertaining as so many writers shared their personal writing. There were so many talented people, as well as quite a few humorous pieces in the second half of the evening. I think it was a great way to start the Festival and it definitely gave me inspiration to write. Just sitting among all those other writers and hearing their stories made me want to write something, even if I have no idea what to write. The panels and workshops through the next two days were also amazing to attend. It was a real pleasure to listen to published authors and poets share their work and then talk about their techniques and skills. Kathyrn Hinds’ panel was especially insightful and incredible. She is such an interesting person and it was a real treat to hear her talk about her process of writing. It was also reassuring to hear her talk about areas where she is working to improve because so many times we think of published authors as having perfect skill and it’s nice to be reminded they’re similar to every beginning writer. The entire weekend was a just a wonderful experience to hear talented writing from other students and it was a tremendous opportunity to hear poetry and prose in such an enriching environment.

Take care,

Diane J.

Megan Johnson (Student editor, Dahlonega campus)

“Twenty-six universities assembled in Dahlonega for the Southern Literary Festival last weekend to enjoy three days of literary learning and companionship. On Friday, a particularly captivating speaker graced the stage at this gathering. Tony Grooms, author of Bombingham, a novel addressing the Civil Rights Movement in America’s southern states in the 1960’s. Grooms’ voice filled the auditorium of the Health and Natural Sciences Building as he shared his remarkable skill as both a writer and an orator. This excellent performance was a highlight of the weekend and especial thanks is outstretched to Mr. Grooms for taking time to share with us his remarkable work.​”

An Overview of the Southern Literary Festival

By Rachael Bryant

The Southern Literary Festival was an amazing event. The Open Mic held had a diverse range of poems and fiction read, from experiences during 9/11 to inspiration from nature. It was amazing to hear poems from those who traveled from different universities. It was also interesting to hear the winning pieces read by their authors. When the winners of poetry, fiction, one-act plays etc. read their pieces I could tell how much hard work they put into them in order to make them special.

However, my favorite event was Kimberly Brock’s workshop. Even though there was only a few of us present, she was not disheartened and gave us so much advice in concerns to writing and how she began her journey to becoming an author. It was absolutely inspiring. I look forward to reading her book The River Witch as well as her future work. I look forward to next year and I am sure the next Southern Literary Festival will also be wonderful.

Scott Biddulph

The air was electric at this event. There were so many talented students and authors sharing their work in the different genres. All of us, as students and writers, came away with some new nugget of gold to enhance our writing and our future careers. My particular nugget was twofold. I was introduced to the spoken word poetry of Alex Johns which inspired me to new thoughts on satire within my poetry. Secondly, Kathryn Hinds showed me that my neo-formalist leanings in poetry were not a bad thing. As a part of the Chestatee Review staff, I was allowed to get close to and speak with several authors—I even got an autograph from Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun). Francs Mayes read a speech that was so personal and intimate in detail that it could have been published as a short memoir itself. She`s an amazingly talented writer. Thank`s to all the new readers and followers of our blog! We`ll keep it coming and we hope you`ll help us spread the word.


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