Dozens of students, parents and faculty packed LAPC last Thursday for “Writer’s Read,” a biannual event where select students and faculty read their writing in front of peers and colleagues.
Open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the APU Writer’s Read accepts works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama and excerpts from novels.
By the time the event began, extra chairs had already been brought in to meet the demand of the crowd in attendance. Professors from the English Department mingled with students and other faculty before Dr. David Esselstrom, chairman of the department, stepped up to the microphone to set an evening of inspiration in motion.
The night was structured to reflect the diversity of readers who had been selected. Students read works about love, woe, friendship and faith.
Some were selected to read stories they had written, both fiction and nonfiction. These were varied in genre, exploring subjects from experiences on the battlefield to lessons learned abroad to hospice care.
Others recited their own poetry. The themes at work in these shorter samples ranged from a wrestling match with identity to the experience of helping a homeless woman.
Visiting English professor Diane Glancy also made an appearance as the evening’s Featured Reader. Glancy has previously published novels, short stories, essays and poetry and is a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.
Glancy read several pieces of poetry and punctuated them by having students from her own classes come up and recite their work. The festivities concluded after she read a piece about Jonah and the whale.
The APU Writer’s Read was inaugurated in fall 1981. Dr. Ralph Carlson, a longtime APU professor, coined the idea as an opportunity to honor Veterans Day. Before long, the APU Writer’s Read had evolved into a biannual event.
Many professors, including Carlson, started to encourage students to submit prose to read aloud. They were pleased by the results.
“Folks found that they liked what they were reading and reading in front of others,” Carlson said.
The event has become a fixture on campus, with audiences ranging from 30-50 people in recent years. For Carlson, it has been great to watch students gain an appreciation for reading and writing.
“Seeing that interaction and growth in individual cases has given me some individual satisfaction,” he said.
Students interested in next semester’s APU Writer’s Read should contact Dr. Katie Manning.