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Celebrating literature

Making Literature Conference kicked off on Thursday

(Photograph by Ruth Flores-Orellana) Creative nonfiction author David Griffith is one of many published authors presenting the sixth Making Literature Conference.

(Photograph by Ruth Flores-Orellana) Creative nonfiction author David Griffith is one of many published authors presenting the sixth Making Literature Conference.

By Laura Koenig | Echo

They’ve made the literature. Now it’s time to celebrate the artistry.

Five published authors and 48 student presenters are sharing and discussing their critical papers, fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry at Taylor’s Making Literature Conference that happens every two years.

Students from ten colleges across the United States, in addition to students from Taylor, will claim an audience of family, friends, students and professors during individual presentation times and share work they submitted to the conference. Fighting nerves with an abundant amount of excitement, junior and conference intern Hillary Foreman will share her critical essay and creative piece.

“What I’m most excited about is to celebrate artistry of peers,” Foreman said. “That’s a really important part of writing, and scholarship also, because it can be seen as such a lonely process, but there’s this whole community of people who can support one another.”

Along with the honor of presenting her own work and supporting others, Foreman is excited to celebrate the beauty of art and its ability to surpass worldviews and connect people at a human level.

Conference co-director and Assistant Professor of English Aaron Housholder is looking forward to the energy and buzz the English students bring to campus. He’s also hoping for non-English students to contribute to this enthusiasm by recognizing that English, literature and creative writing make up more than just general education classes about dead authors.

“(Literature) is a vibrant, active field where we engage with text, but we (also) engage with other people,” Housholder said. “We make meaning out of this place that God has made for us: this world that we live in.”

Wednesday’s chapel bore a unique witness to the power of literature and poetry. Even though the poetry readings by Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner and Taylor faculty and students were not an official part of the conference, the 50 minutes prepared students for the art coming to Taylor during the next three days.

Wagner, who is in her second year of being poet laureate, recognized the need to share poetry with others as she travels Indiana as an ambassador for her art form.

“I’ve been supported by my teachers throughout the years,” Wagner said. “I think lots of times people think of poets who are deceased or poets outside of Indiana and don’t see the poets right here. I think it’s important to give them attention.”

From Thursday, March 2 to Saturday, March 4, writers will receive this attention during author keynotes and readings, student presentations and a book fair in the Euler Atrium. This time will also include the launch of Assistant Director of the Honors Guild Amy Peterson’s new book on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

All sessions are free, and schedules can be found on the Making Literature Conference blog. Students are welcome to go to the sessions and support their friends and peers.

“This is a really cool platform to say, ‘Hey, I wrote this thing, it means a lot to me, and I’m excited to share it with you,’” Foreman said. “I think a lot of really good conversations are going to come from people sharing work.”

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