Visiting Writers Series dedicated to memory of former board of trustees member

Hadasa Rivera Marin, Reporter

Every year, authors are brought to campus to share their creative work and talk about their experiences to students, faculty and the community. However, a series started in 1989 took on a new meaning this spring.

The 2019-20 Visiting Writers Series is dedicated in memory of Hughlene Bostian Frank, a member of App State’s board of trustees and foundation board of directors, and her late husband, William Frank.

“It’s a matter of providing access to great writers, great poets, to come to our institution and be able to enrich the creative writing program as well as the culture on this campus,” said Leonardo Flores, English department chair.

Invited writers this spring include novelist Kayla Rae Whitaker, creative non-fiction author Graham Hoppe, and poets Nickole Brown and Jacinta White.

English department associate professor Mark Powell said the goal is diversity “in every sense.”

All of these writers are remarkably unique. Attendees can expect to hear about African-American churches and cemeteries in the South, eco-criticism in the Anthropocene, the publication process, and how we relate to certain spaces,” Powell said. 

Susan Weinberg, coordinator of the series, said faculty members suggest authors to the visiting writers series committee. 

She said faculty members who make suggestions are usually familiar with the nominated writer’s work because it’s taught in class, they’re passionate about it or they have a personal connection to the author. 

Each author reads from one of their works, and leads a talk on the craft of writing. The talks aim to give aspiring writers examples of techniques and a greater understanding of the work that goes into the process.

“We want our students to benefit, and we’re not just talking English majors. Love of literature, stories, art and poetry, should be part of anyone and everyone’s education,” Flores said. 

All events in the series are free and open to the public. Book sales and signings will be available after the talks and readings.

“You go to a reading, and here you have a living, breathing author reading from their work. They’re giving you a little context, a taste, and it’s usually one of the good parts,” Flores said. “This is a great opportunity, so I hope people take advantage of it and are able to enjoy it,” 

The first author to attend App State’s campus in this 2020 spring series is Kayla Rae Whitaker. Her craft talk was titled, “Five Things You Need to Know Before You Publish,” and happened on the afternoon of Feb 27.

Whitaker’s reading will take place that evening in Three Top Mountain Room 169, PSU at 7:30 p.m.