3 writers speak at ‘Lions in Winter’ festival

Ryan Meyer, Reporter

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Lions in Winter, a creative writing festival, took place in the Doudna Fine Arts Center on Saturday with three guest writers: Kelcey Parker Ervick, Joanne Diaz and Nick White. 

The event also included winners of the Young Lions High School Creative Writing Contest who read their award-winning pieces during lunch. 

After lunch, college students from Eastern and beyond read pieces of their own in the choral room. 

For Keyaunna Bunch, a junior English major, Ervick’s presentations stood out from the rest. 

“She was talking about postcards and how she incorporates different sayings from different pieces of writing and putting them on top of the postcards and other visuals that she was using in her writing,” Bunch said. “I think the best part was when she included her students’ work.”

Colleen Abel, English instructor and co-judge of the Young Lions High School Creative Writing Contest also appreciated Ervick’s work.

“I think Kelcey Parker Ervick’s stuff this morning was really a great discovery for me because I wasn’t that familiar with her work before,” Abel said. “I just was so impressed by how she’s able to combine her drawing with her writing.”  

Abel said she also enjoyed the university readers. 

“The college student and the graduate student readings in the choral room were my first exposure to pretty much everybody’s work that read,” Abel said. “I was just so impressed by how talented everybody was and how you had really, sort of young, undergraduates who were holding their own with advanced, second-year MFAs. It was really cool.”

The featured writers performed readings of their works and gave educational talks describing their craft and personal methods for writing. 

The craft talks were interactive, with the audience of students and faculty alike reading aloud pieces written during Diaz’s craft talk.

Diaz’s craft talk included self-criticism and analysis of some of her popular poems.  

“I’d come again, just to patch up my work of poetry writing,” said Aries Brewer, a junior psychology major. 

The winners of the Young Lions High School Creative Writing Contest included one poet and three fiction writers; they read their pieces over a catered lunch in the Doudna Concourse. 

They received cash prizes and strong applause for their works.

“I want to take every opportunity I can get for colleges and sponsorships so I just thought this would be a great opportunity to put some work out there,” said Hollie Richardson, Shelbyville High School sophomore and first place in the poetry category. 

“That’s some competition, and if they’re starting that young, that’s really nice,” Bunch said about the award-winners. 

After the festival relocated to the choral room, more college-aged students read their work.

Abel said her favorite part of the event was watching the university students perform.

“I have only just started teaching creative writing classes at EIU, so I haven’t had that many creative writing students yet,” Abel said. “As a teacher, I’m just starting to build relationships with student writers, so getting to see the talent we already have, I was just really proud of how talented our student writers are.” 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]