The Wilson Writer Series kicked off October 24 at 7 p.m. in Patterson Lounge. This marked the tenth year since the Wilson Writer Series began, having started in 2003. Melanie Faith ’99 was the guest speaker and this served as her third time speaking at the series.
The series has kept the same format since its debut. Each writer series features a new speaker where the speaker talks about their career, from the work they’ve produced themselves to the process that got them to where they are now. Students listen and learn about what it takes to be a writer or learn more about that field of study.
“The format works well with students,” said Michael Cornelius, Associate Professor of English and the creator of the series. After joining the Wilson Community, Cornelius was asked to come up with something new that would benefit Wilson and something that students would enjoy.
Cornelius extends an invitation to anyone who has something to say and who wishes to contribute their ideas to the Wilson Community.
“Free coffee and brownies are always a good thing,” Cornelius joked. “Even if your major has nothing to do with writing– it’s always good to be exposed to contemporary literature.”
In previous years, local writers such as Richard Katrovas, Shelly Puhak, and Martha Marinara have spoken at the series. This semester, Melanie Faith returned after having spoken at previous Writers Series events in 2005 and 2009.
Faith’s main focus is poetry because it is very near to her heart. However, she has also explored other types of writing such as personal essays, educational essays, short stories, flash fiction, novella (a short novel), and has written two novels that have yet to be published. At the series, she shared a variety of her poems.
“I hope that members of the Wilson community will enjoy an evening of the spoken word, and I look forward to meeting students and connecting with some familiar faces on campus. I hope that it’s interesting and encouraging to meet an author,” she explained. “Even if they’re not writers themselves, I think it’s a worthwhile experience to listen to art and to think about the creative process.”
In addition to fostering creative thinking, the series is meant to inspire those who attend. Cornelius suggests practice for anyone who dreams of becoming a writer.
“Keep writing; keep working on the craft. Keep moving forward,” he said.
Faith advised, “Read widely. Read books about creative writing; there are numerous wonderful and encouraging books about every genre of creative writing.” She also explained that one should make writing a primary focus. “Make writing a priority by penciling it into your schedule. No matter how many rejections you receive [when you’re ready to publish], keep writing. Write for the joy of the creative process. Write because it’s challenging and consternating and fun and hard work. Write to share with trusted friends and maybe even someday an adoring readership. Write, write, write, and keep writing. Call yourself a writer, even if you’ve yet to publish.” She ended her explanation with a resounding statement, “If you write, you’re a writer–period.”
“You can achieve these dreams,” Cornelius stated when describing the series. Many past speakers have been local rising talents that have shown promise with their creativity. Cornelius hopes that students are able to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with authors while they visit the Wilson campus.
The Wilson Writer Series generally takes place once a semester. But the more people who show interest and attend each series, the more likely more writer series will be planned.