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Taylor hosts literature conference

Creative presenters gather on campus

Ellie Tiemens | The Echo

Emily Griesinger presents on religious identity and women writers. Photo by Jazmin Tuscani.

Emily Griesinger presents on religious identity and women writers. Photo by Jazmin Tuscani.

The English Department is once again hosting the Making Literature Conference from Feb. 28 – Mar. 2.

This conference, held every two years, was created to celebrate the intersection of literature, writing and faith at the undergraduate level.

This year, students from 13 universities across the country will be coming to Taylor to present academic papers and hear from four keynote speakers.

The conference began Thursday morning with students presenting academic papers and pieces of creative writing. At 4 p.m., students celebrated the release of “Parnassus,” Taylor’s literary journal.

The first keynote speaker, Emily Griesinger — professor of literature at Asuza Pacific University — spoke at 7 p.m about women in literature. Thursday night also brought a performance from musical group Sister Sinjin in the Euler Legacy Commons.

Today, the conference will continue with a presentation at 4 p.m. from Natasha Oladokun, an up-and-coming poet.

Author Katherine James will give a reading from her novel “Can You See Anything Now? at 7 p.m in Cornwall auditorium.

The conference will end on Saturday morning with a presentation from Editor-in-Chief of “Rock & Sling” literary journal Thom Caraway about editing and publishing.

Daniel Bowman, associate professor of literature and co-organizer of the conference, selects keynote speakers each year that he knows will benefit the students.

“What I want is people who are great writers but also really good people who want to be around the students and give of themselves while they are here,” Bowman said.

Each keynote speaker this year comes with a unique perspective on the field of writing and literature and faith. According to Bowman, they cover all the different aspects of the writing world, which is what appeals to the students who attend.

Additionally, Eighth Day Books, an independent bookstore based out of Wichita, Kansas, will have a book fair set up in Euler throughout the duration of the conference.

Students will have the opportunity to purchase books from authors such as Flannery O’Connor and C.S. Lewis as well as interact with representatives from literary journals.

“Reality doesn’t divide itself into ‘religious’ and ‘literary’ and ‘secular’ spheres, so we don’t either,” Eighth Day Books says on their website. “We’re convinced that all truths are related and every truth, if we pay attention rightly, directs our gaze toward God.”

Senior Hannah Perry helped organize this conference as the student conference intern and will also be attending sessions and presenting her own work.

Perry is most excited to be in a space where people are excited about reading and writing. She also looks forward to the book fair put on by Eighth Day Books.

“(Making Literature Conference) is a celebration of literature,” Perry said. “It’s about people who love to read, talk about, and make good literature.”

Both Perry and Bowman encourage students in every field of study to attend any part of this event that they can.

As this conference focuses on undergraduates, it is a great opportunity to build up a resume and hear from experienced writers.

“If you’ve never been to a poetry reading in your life, and you’re an economics major, but you show up, something’s going to happen,” Bowman said. “God’s going to use that moment in your life to teach you something and to move you forward and I think that’s cool, so it’s a nice opportunity.”

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