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February 19, 2010
Vol. 51 No. 15

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Students shine at conference

Courtesy of The Crusader/Abbi Mull
Talk it out-- Susquehanna and other university students discuss their works at the sixth annual Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference held this past Monday.
The sixth annual Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference took place at Susquehanna on Monday, Feb. 15 from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Throughout the day, students and writers from all along the East Coast presented literary and creative papers to students, faculty, parents and friends.

"I'd say that the real story of the conference is the fact that so many SU English and creative writing majors got the real-world, professional experience of reading their work to a wider public of English and creative writing professionals," said Associate Professor of English and English Department Chair Drew Hubbell.

"I have received so many comments, including from Professor Gerald Graff, our keynote speaker from University of Illinois-Chicago, about how terrifically smart, thoughtful and prepared our students were," he said.

Hubbell said his team - including Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Karla Kelsey, , Associate Professor of English and Associate Professor of the Honors Program Amy Winans, Associate Professor English Karen Mura and Academic Assistant Crystal VanHorn - began work on the conference in September 2008 when they invited guest speaker Graff and developed this year's theme.

"It was full department collaboration," Hubbell said.

According to Hubbell, off-campus students submitted their paper proposals to the department and the selections were made by Hubbell, Mura, Kelsey, Winans and VanHorn by Nov. 20. Susquehanna professors put in their bids for senior student candidates, and the on-campus selection was completed by mid-December.

Hubbell said that there was a "fantastic turnout" at this year's conference.

"We're really starting to hit our stride," he said. "People [from many campuses] look forward to the conference," citing regular participants from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and other East Coast states.

Panels of four or five students read their works in the Degenstein Meeting Rooms and Shearer Dining Rooms during four sessions which began at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m..

In a creative fiction panel during Session 1, Rachel Woodring read her piece "Dollhouse," Allie Bochicchio read "Kayaking," Jamie Beaudoin read "What Cold Looks Like," and Erica Reed read "Costumers." The creative fiction panel was moderated by Assistant Professor of English Silas Dent Zobal.

Some of the other panels that took place throughout the day included "Jane Austen's Literary Library," "The Meaning of a Literary Education" and "Creating Characters."

After lunch, keynote speaker Dr. Gerald Graff spoke in Degenstein Theater to an audience of 100 Susquehanna and other university students and faculty.

Charles D'Ambrosio, a poetry and fiction writer and the author of "The Dead Fish Museum," "Orphans," and "The Point," presented a reading of some of his short stories at 4:30 p.m.. in Degenstein Theater before a closing reception concluded the day-long conference.

The theme of next year's seventh annual Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference will be "Literature, Creativity and Print Culture: Sustainability in a Digital Age."

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