19th annual Lit Fest starts next week

NEWMAN'S 19TH ANNUAL literary festival will feature keynote speaker Travis Prinzi. Courtesy photo, University Relations

It’s that magical time of year again, and Harry Potter will be the star of Newman University’s 19th annual Literary Festival will take place April 12-13 in Jabara Theater. 

LitFest will start on Thursday at 7 p.m. with a guest speaker, Travis Prinzi, who in correlation with the Harry Potter theme of the festival, will be speaking on “Saving Dumbledore: Moral Imagination and Forgiveness in Harry Potter’s Death.”

Susan Crane, associate professor of English and one of the coordinators of the festival, said she is excited for the festival and the opportunities it gives students. 

“It allows for students to attend a professional conference without spending a lot of money or going too far,” Crane said. “And then you can put it on your resume and it’s good practice for oral presentation, whether that be you’re presenting a formal paper or if you’re doing a performance of some kind, like a play. It gives you a little extra practice venue in a friendly environment, but also one that’s outside the classroom.”

Crane said that LitFest allows people to come in contact with scholars who they might not get the chance to otherwise see, such as Laura Scholl, an assistant professor of graphic design and digital art here at Newman and was a look development lead on “Harry Potter: The Sorcerer’s Stone.” 

“I think it provides a way for Newman students, faculty, staff, and wider community to meet people who are interested in similar things,” said Crane, “and who also manage to make at least part of a living doing those things that so often in our world people don’t think of as somehow viable to you as a person or your career.”

LitFest is also where students receive their first printed copies of Coelacanth, a professionally-produced literary journal that contains the creative work of Newman students. 

Junior Amy Emerson served on the Coelacanth literary journal team and was in charge of art submissions. She asked undergraduate students, both from Newman and other universities, for art submissions ranging from photos to drawings and graphic designs. Some other genres are prose, poetry, short stories and plays. 

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Emerson said, “because Newman does it every year and all the students that get their work accepted into it can actually say that ‘I’m a published author, or artist, or what-have-you.’”

Emerson said she is excited to support her peers who have “gone above-and-beyond the class requirements” to produce work that can sometimes be underappreciated. 

“And you can walk away with a free copy of your own Coelacanth journal, which is just a compilation of all these diverse students on campus from different majors and different backgrounds presenting like little pieces of them in their poetry and their works that they’ve written,” she said. “I think it’s a really cool opportunity to just appreciate and support different parts of campus that you don’t usually get to see.” 

The festival is free and open to any students, faculty, staff, or community members who which to attend. Individuals who want more information and the festival schedule can visit: http://go.newmanu.edu/litfest.

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2018 issue of The Vantage.

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