Conference Explores New World of Literature and Creativity
E-readers, e-books, blogging authors, book trailers on YouTube and online writing communities mark the collision between literary and virtual realms. The seventh annual Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference explored the resulting new world with the theme “Literature and Creativity in a Digital Age.”
Panels featured readings of critical and creative work from Susquehanna undergraduates, along with students from schools such as Westminster College, Notre Dame College, Towson University and SUNY New Paltz. After the readings, attendees had a chance to ask questions. Panels included Literature and Gender, Young Adults, Literature and Technology, and Language and the Digital Age and Human Moralities Ranging From Evil Through Sainthood. The student organization FUSE (Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors) had its own editing and publishing roundtable, moderated by Assistant Professor of English Catherine Dent.
Lindsey Sitler ’14, who read during a fiction panel, feels that the conference gave English and creative writing students a “sense of professionalism.”
“It was a great experience that introduced me to the fantastic community of writers that Susquehanna has to offer,” says Paul Burnell ’13, who also presented.
Associate Professor of English Karen Mura, a conference committee member alongside professors Karla Kelsey, Laurence Roth and Silas Zobal, believes the conference is a “wonderful experience for undergrads to share in a public forum.” According to Mura, another benefit is the opportunity to bring in well-known authors and scholars. This is particularly beneficial to Susquehanna students who have access to these speakers without leaving campus.
This year the conference hosted Fred D’Aguiar, a highly acclaimed writer of drama, poetry and novels who has won the Whitbread First Novel Award and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. His most recent book is the poetry collection The Continental Shelf. Alan Liu, professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, delivered the keynote address, Close, Distant and Unexpected Reading: New Forms of Literary Reading in the Digital Age. He also led a roundtable discussion on A Digital Approach to Collaborating Across Disciplines.
Next year’s conference will delve into the theme “Narratives of Power: Emotion and Persuasion.” The keynote speaker will be M. Jimmie Killingsworth, professor of English at Texas A&M University, and the visiting writer will be Joy Castro, author of the memoir The Truth Book.
Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Charlotte Lotz ‘12, Megan McDermott ‘14, Betsy K. Robertson and Karen M. Jones, assistant director of media relations.