F&M Stories

Meet the Students: Emerging Writers Festival

At Franklin & Marshall College, students don’t just study the country's most exciting new authors. They plan a campuswide literary festival and work personally with them.

Meet the student planners behind the College’s annual Emerging Writers Festival (EWF), slated for April 3 to 5. See this year’s visiting writers

The three-day festival, now in its 22nd year, features a diverse range of in-person and virtual craft talks and readings, free to members of the College and broader communities. The collaborative effort between students and faculty champions the work of rising writers early in their careers.

Emerging Writers Festival

F&M students are assigned as “shadows” for each writer, tasked with coordinating visits and handling audience introductions prior to readings. 

Senior shadow Louisa Esposito was instantly drawn to the College's closeknit writing community. 

I also heard about the Writers House on my tour. I fell in love with the idea of that and knew attending events and finding a community there was right up my alley. Never did I imagine that I would have the wonderful opportunity to work there for my entire four years here or be a part of organizing EWF,” Esposito said. 

Below, meet some of the student shadows behind this beloved campus tradition. 

The team includes seniors Emma Campbell, Grace Celi, Louisa Esposito, Gyana Guity, Isabel Hoin, Jayden LaCoe, Sarah Nicell, Olivia Schmid, Rohail Spear and Ryan Squires. See all 10 student bios here

Isabel Hoin '24
Isabel Hoin '24
  • Hometown: Lancaster, Pa.
  • Major: English (creative writing)

Why did you choose F&M? 

I transferred to F&M the second semester of my first year. I actually stumbled into the English creative writing major soon after transferring, thanks to my adviser, Kabi Hartman, and my professor for Introduction to Creative Writing, Nicholas Montemarano. While I did not attend F&M for its English creative writing program, I am so thankful to have had the best guidance, expertise and advice from the English department as a whole!

Favorite author or genre? (or both!)

I don't have just one author, so I'll name the few that come to mind. They include: Marianne Chan, Sylvia Plath, Rainer Maria Rilke and Kimberly Grey.

Sarah Nicell
Sarah Nicell '24
  • Hometown: Elk Township, N.J.
  • Double major: Government and English (creative writing)

Why did you choose F&M?

Choosing a college when the entire world was shut down due to the pandemic was a major challenge, and for some reason, F&M called out to me. It had a good government program, which is what I wanted to do at the time. It was far enough from home that I could become my own person. I found English a bit later down the line, and I'm endlessly grateful to the professors who helped me on that journey.

Favorite author or genre? (or both!)

I love nonfiction, but specifically nonfiction that isn't afraid to get wild. I want an author to tell me about themselves in a way that I can't quite tell if they're being truthful. Confuse me. Who cares if it's a memoir? Be creative!

Louisa Esposito '24
Louisa Esposito '24 
  • Hometown: Absecon, N.J.
  • Double major: English (creative writing), Film and Media Studies
Why did you choose F&M?

I fell in love with it when I visited my junior year of high school. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be a writer of some kind. Never had I ever seen a school with an English major for creative writing. That really excited me. I also heard about the Writers House on my tour. I fell in love with the idea of that and knew attending events and finding a community there was right up my alley. Never did I imagine that I would have the wonderful opportunity to work there for my entire four years here or be a part of organizing EWF!

Favorite author or genre? (or both!)

I have a few, but recently I took a Toni Morrison course and fell in love with her books. I love her writing style and how she was never afraid to write about "taboo" topics. I love how she went against the metanarrative and represented voices of oppressed groups through her characters. For genre, I've always loved fantasy, dystopian and utopian novels.

Emma Campbell
Emma Campbell '24 
  • Hometown: Maple Glen, Pa.
  • Major: Biology 
  • Minor: English 
Why did you choose F&M?

My cousin Becca (Class of 2022) insisted I visit, and I fell in love with the campus and the closeknit communities she introduced me to. 

Favorite author or genre? (or both!)

I've been on a Jane Austin kick recently! I tend to like thrillers so I never thought to read her, but now I'm hooked.

Olivia Schmid '24
Olivia Schmid '24 
  • Hometown: Ephrata, Pa.
  • Major: English (creative writing)
Why did you choose F&M?

I mainly attended F&M in order to receive a great, academically challenging education. I wanted the opportunity to foster close connections with professors, faculty and students who share similar passions as I do. The chance to work on EWF this year is just one example of this!

Favorite author or genre? (or both!)

My favorite genres are literary fiction and memoir. Favorite authors include Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Gilbert and Dolly Alderton.

This year’s EWF lineup includes poets Maggie Millner and Michale Torres, graphic fiction writer Ebony Flowers, nonfiction writer Sarah Perry and fiction writer Ada Zhang. The festival commences with an April 3 reading with Millner, Zhang and Torres at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Room Theatre. 

Several F&M alumni have been featured in the lineup over the years, including Indrapramit (Indra) Das ’08, author of “The Devourers,” Elizabeth Byrne ’07, author of “The Grave Keepers,” and Mandy Berman ’09, author of “Perennials” and “The Learning Curve.”

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