A group of promising writers who are early in their careers will arrive on the Franklin & Marshall College campus April 10-12 to host and attend a series of readings, craft talks and panel discussions with F&M students. Now in its 18th year, the Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) brings a wide variety of voices to campus each spring.
“This year's group of writers reflects a fairly broad and inclusive cross-section of what's happening in contemporary literature,” said Erik Anderson, director of the EWF and writer in residence at F&M.“That's a pretty valuable thing for our community.”
For the third year in a row, an F&M graduate will be among the talented group. Novelists Mandy Berman ’09 and Indra Das ’08 gave readings and hosted craft talks in 2018 and 2017, respectively. This year, Elizabeth Byrne ’07 will read from her work and lead a discussion on YA (young adult) fiction. Her first novel, “The Grave Keepers,” was published by HarperTeen (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) in 2017.
Having alumni come back to campus who are actively pursuing careers in writing gives students a unique opportunity to listen to graduates speak about their F&M experiences, as well as their career triumphs and challenges, said Anderson.
“Alums from the English department are out in the world pursuing lives as writers and finding real success in their work,” he said. “We certainly look forward to reading the books our current students will be publishing in the future.”
Byrne has a connection to the event even deeper than her affinity with her fellow creative writing majors. As a student, she worked on the festival's organizing committee. The festival has always been and remains collaborative; students, faculty and staff work together to envision EWF and then to make that vision happen. This model proves to be its own transformative experience for the students and the festival itself.
“Every year's festival has its own flavor that reflects the current student cohort,” explained Anderson. “As a programming model, it's unique and even a little magical.”
The Emerging Writers Festival begins April 10 and runs through April 12. All events are free and open to the public. Learn more on the EWF website.
Alumnae Elizabeth Byrne ’07 is among the writers attending the festival. (Photo credit: Mike Wall)