Lions in Winter coming to Doudna Saturday

Ryan Meyer, Staff Reporter

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Lions in Winter, a literary festival, is taking place in Doudna Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Three nationally known featured writers of varying genres will be performing readings and giving craft talks throughout the day. 

“Lions in Winter is a creative writing festival. It really has two major components: the guest writers who we bring in do readings from their own work, and they also do, in separate sessions, what are called craft talks, which is basically like, you might call it a master class or kind of a workshop in creative writing,” said Angela Vietto, chair of the English department.

The festival will also include a book fair and editors’ panel.

“For our creative writing students, what’s really important is that if you’re ambitious as a creative writer, if you want to publish your work, the more working writers you get to meet and talk to, the better,” said Vietto.

Kelcey Parker Ervick, a creative nonfiction writer, will be doing her reading at 9:30 a.m. and giving a craft talk at 10:20 a.m. Poet Joanne Diaz’s reading takes place at 11:20 a.m., and her craft talk at 2:05 p.m. Nick White, a fiction writer, will be reading at 3:05 p.m. and giving his craft talk at 3:55 p.m. 

This year’s guests bring variety to Doudna through personal stories and visually appealing graphic memoirs.

“I’m really excited about Kelcey Parker Ervick, I mean I’m excited for all the writers, but I’m really excited because she incorporates comics and visual stuff into her writing, and I don’t think we’ve had that before at Lions in Winter,” said Colleen Abel, an English professor at Eastern. 

“We have this contest called Young Lions, where we work with area high school teachers and they tell their students about it, and the students submit their fiction, poetry or nonfiction to us,” Abel said. 

Winners of the Young Lions High School Contest will be reading their award-winning pieces in the Doudna Concourse from 12:05 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

“This is the first year where all of the high school winners are going to be there, and they’re going to read (their pieces),” said English professor Daiva Markelis.

“People who come to the event can come for the entire day, and hear three readings and three craft talks, or they can just come for one writer, so they can kind of come in and out,” Vietto said. “If you are just interested in hearing literature, you might just come to the readings. But if you’re also a writer, then you would want to come to the craft talks.”

“We try to promote it as a university and community event. That’s important because a lot of people who aren’t students but who are interested in writing will come,” Markelis said. 

Vietto, Markelis and Abel all believed that students interested in reading, writing or English would learn a lot and benefit greatly from the experience.

“It is super beneficial. I want people to come because I think they’ll really be blown away,” Abel said.  

Readings take place in the recital hall and craft talks are in the lecture hall. Craft talks, continental breakfast and lunch require prior registration. Registration can be done online at castle.eiu.edu/lionsinwinter. 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812

 or at [email protected].