Students, authors gather at SMU’s 2009 LitFest

Five authors will share their work and their perspectives on the writing process with the SMU community during the University’s 2009 Literary Festival, scheduled for April 16-17 in Dallas Hall and DeGolyer Library.

This year’s guests were chosen by Creative Writing Director David Haynes and Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Key, both of the Department of English in Dedman College. They include:

Scott BlackwoodScott Blackwood (top right), author of We Agreed to Meet Just Here, which won the 2007 AWP Award for the Novel. His award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House, was published by SMU Press in 2001.

Melissa Kirsch (middle right), author of The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything (Workman, 2007), now in its 4th printing. She writes for such publications as New York, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic Traveler, Scientific American and The Huffington Post, as well as her own website.

Melissa KirschMichael Narducci, whose short fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Gadfly Magazine, Meridian and The Texas Review. He also works as a television and film writer and has written for the science fiction series “The 4400” as well as the NBC drama “Medium.”

April Wilder, Vice-Presidential Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Utah, whose fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications. Currently, she is working on a novel, I Think About You All The Time, Starting Tomorrow.

Tracy WinnTracy Winn (bottom right), whose short stories have appeared in journals such as the Alaska Quarterly Review, The New Orleans Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Mrs. Somebody Somebody is her debut collection of stories, published by SMU Press in April 2009.

The 2009 LitFest is organized around events that will provide plenty of opportunity for students and authors to interact, says LitFest coordinator Ben Painter, a senior English major and political science minor in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Three LitFest authors – Kirsch, Narducci and Wilder – will meet one-on-one with students throughout the festival.

“The authors have given us a great deal of their time outside of the festival’s scheduled events,” says Painter. “Students already are signing up for these meetings and e-mailing stories to get the writers’ input.”

Painter is also co-founder of the student organization SMU Writers’ Group. In addition to providing support for the University’s student writing community, “one of our main goals is to re-establish LitFest at SMU as one of the premier literary festivals in the nation,” he says.

The SMU Literary Festival is free and open to University students, faculty and staff. For a complete schedule, visit the SMU LitFest homepage.