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ODP Literary Festival set for Oct. 19-21

In celebration of the rich cultural heritage of its campus, the WKU Office of Diversity Programs (ODP) presents its inaugural Literary Festival Oct.19-21 at the Bowling Green campus. The Literary Festival will feature poetry, including a popular poetic slam competition in collaboration with the Student Identity Outreach organization.

On Tuesday the Literary Festival will feature Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow Bianca Spriggs. Spriggs, a freelance instructor of composition, literature and creative writing, will speak at 7 p.m. in room 340 of the Downing University Center.  She holds degrees from Transylvania University and the University of Wisconsin, is a Kentucky Humanities Council lecturer, creator and programmer of the Gypsy Poetry Slam featured annually at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and the creator and programmer of the Darkroom Showcase, an interactive interdisciplinary series of performance art featured at the Lexington Art League.

Patricia Smith, a Pushcart Prize winner and National Book Award finalist, calls Spriggs’ work “an aggressive signature that is deftly crafted, insightful and often achingly lyrical.”

On Wednesday Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author of three award-winning books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue, Outlandish Blues, and Red Clay Suite, will be featured in Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.  Her poems and stories have appeared in literary journals such as African American Review, American Poetry Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, Callaloo, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly and in more than a dozen anthologies. She has won awards and fellowships from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, American Antiquarian Society, the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma, where she is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing Coordinator.

On Thursday Rebecca Gayle Howell, poet, translator and documentarian, will be featured at a luncheon in the Kentucky Room of the Kentucky Museum. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Ecotone, The Connecticut Review and Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and her documentary work has been collected in the anthologies Plundering Appalachia (EarthWise) and The Artist as Activist in Appalachia (University of North Georgia Press).  Her books include the poetry chapbook The Hatchet Buddha (Larkspur Press) and This is Home Now: Kentucky’s Holocaust Survivors Speak, co-authored with Arwen Donahue.

She has taught creative writing for the University of Kentucky, The Gaines Center for the Humanities, and is currently on faculty at Morehead State University. During her tenure as the Director of The Women Writers Conference, she received the Sallie Bingham Award for excellence in activism and the arts benefiting Kentucky women. She holds a masters in fine arts in poetry and poetry-in-translation from Drew University and is currently at work on the first English collection by the celebrated feminist Iraqi poet, Amal Al-Jubouri.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Student Identity Outreach will host MIX Tape: WKU SLAM open competition in the Garrett Conference Center Auditorium. Rebecca Howell will be among the judges.

Contact: Office of Diversity Programs, (270) 745-5066.

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