The scoop on Western Carolina University’s 10th annual Spring Literary Festival
By Nicole Jarosinski
Spring is my favorite time of year—when the weather warms, birds sing, and buds burst from new foliage. As a student at Western Carolina University, spring also signals the home stretch of the school year and time for WCU’s annual Spring Literary. I make a point to attend at least one reading every year, and not just because my English professors cancel class that week. The festival is a place to hear literature in the authors’ voices, to interact with them, and to discover new writers. Hearing words from the author’s mouth rather than reading them off the page elevates writing into an experience. In most sessions, authors read from their work, explain the craft of composing or what inspired them, and then answer questions from the audience. They also typically stick around after reading to sign books for audience members.
Of the 13 featured writers this year, seven poets, novelists, and memoirists hail from WNC, including Joseph Bathanti, Ron Rash, Glenis Redmond, and up-and-coming creative nonfiction writer David Joy. Festivities kicked off on Sunday, March 18, but there’s still time to attend the festival on Thursday, March 22. Dramatist Rebecca Hardin-Thrift reads at noon, poet and musician Shirlette Ammons at 4 p.m., and Nick Flynn at 7:30 p.m, whose memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, was adapted to a film and is due out this year.
I always enjoy listening to writers discuss their craft and inspiration, like when Sonja Sanchez explained how writing poetry was a way to make sense of life, or when Charles Baxter talked about how an impersonator gave readings of his work throughout California. Those are things I would never hear if it weren’t for this festival, and they all make the written word a little more alive.
Spring Literary Festival
Thursday, March 22
At University Center Theater and Coulter Recital Hall, 1 University Dr.
(828) 227-7246; www.litfestival.org