By Diego Bustamante
The Annual Creative Writing Festival celebrated its third year on the Ammerman Campus Saturday, May 1.
Students, teachers, and authors gathered together for a celebration of writing by doing a number of activities that ranged from workshops, panels, readings, and creative writing awards presentations on the campus.
The day-long event began with registration at 8:45 a.m. and ended with the closing remarks at 5 p.m.
This year’s special guests included authors such as Lawrence Epstein, Stephanos Papadopoulos, and Dava Sobel, as well as keynote speaker Enzo Surin.
After the students registered, they were welcomed to watch a performance by the comedic improvisation group The Dead Improv Society. Following this was a welcome address by the Creative Writing Festival Committee. Poet Stephanos Papadopoulos and non-fiction writer Dava Sobel then gave readings of some of their works.
“It is in part organized by the English department faculty and the Society of Writers,” Creative Writing Festival Committee member and English Professor Maria Kranidis said. “The keynote speaker will come in and speak while everyone eats and will discuss the correlation between creative writing and literacy. The students will break into groups for panel discussions.”
The list of panel discussions ranged from a variety of different topics that students could enjoy. From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. there were activities for participants such as The Muse Revisited: A Conversion Story focused on the importance of a writer finding inspiration for his or her work.
The MFA in Creative Writing was a panel discussion about the degree, what to study, the Supplemental Certificate Program and career opportunities after study.
Historical Novels and poems highlighted the pros and cons of writing in a different time and setting, and The First American Quebecer Novel was about John Ofrias focusing on his fiction writing in his journals in both English and French. Also, a workshop on The Language of Inquiry offered information about the meaning of language as well as creating word experiments that focused on the poetry’s role.
Passion Speaks to Love, and Fear Listens to Death involved those who exploredE.E. Cummings poems that dealt with passion and fear when in love.
“We always encourage students to bring friends and family every year because everyone is welcome to come and participate,” Creative Writing Committee member Professor Sarah Gutowski said. “Through the day we’re announcing winners for the creative writing award that end up receiving cash prizes, and the first place winner will receive publication for his or her work. Those who did not sign up this year shouldn’t be discouraged because there is always next year.”
From 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. lunch was held at the Montauk Point Room at the Babylon Student Center and the Keynote address was given by Enzo Surin a poet, play writer and founder of INKpals (Partnership affecting literacy). He addressed the concept of uniting creative and expressive art with scholastic teaching in order to encourage more people to read and gain more knowledge to become successful. Afterwards Creative Writing Festival Award Winners gave a presentation of their work.
“It is such an awesome experience,” Kranidis said. “You get to see writers living the life, living that life in the city and coming out to see us. Students and faculty come together to celebrate contemporary literature.”
Additionally, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. students engaged with authors Dava Sobel and Larry Epstein about how they came up with their ideas, the type of literature they write and being in the profession. This was followed by a half an hour break and book signing.
Afterwards, the discussion panels commenced again, and students had the option of choosing a Screenwriting Primer in which students learned to compose three to four pages of a movie script.
Eat, Write! stressed the importance food has on the creative process, and a workshop on Poetic Drama focused on stories being told in poetry through imagery and students attempting this with their own poems.
The Moment Playwright workshop focused on the aspects of creating a play, An Ax For The Frozen Sea, in which students wrote a short hate letter and bucket list and presented it with emotion. Finally, Jump Start Your Imagination With Free Writing gave participants an opportunity at writing and developing skills that make the participant aware of their strengths.
“It puts creativity into peoples minds and gives them the opportunity to explore,” Visual Arts Major Brittany Anderson said. “My boyfriend would definitely like this.”
The closing remarks of the ceremony commenced at 4:40 p.m. Those who participated gathered together one last time. During this time the Creative Writing Committee and the special guests gave their good byes and thanked everyone for coming.
“It encourages students to be in an atmosphere where they can be connected to other writers and realize that they are not alone because they often wonder if what they are doing is a waste of time,” Kranidis said. “My favorite part is when students receive an award because they are so proud. If anyone is interested in getting involved, look us up on Facebook or go to our website at thecwfestivalatsccc.com.”