43rd Annual Writers' Festival

With Agnes Scott celebrating its 125th anniversary, this year's design team wanted to explore a new side to the Writers' Festival. The past few years have had designs that take place in fantasy, so this year we took inspiration from a more urban realism. The grit of cities, the unclean lines and crumpled paper of rough drafts and the demons we all face when trying to express ourselves through the written word. We have aimed to represent the process of writing through through short comic series - climbing out of the shadow of previous poets, facing the dragon of nonfiction truths, making others believe in your fictional creations and fighting against the inner editor when trying to write new script material. This year our team has had five student artists, and I've been honored to be one of them. We each took on the persona of a genre to represent in the magazine, but we all focused on the same word as our jumping point. Unleashed. Whether it is unleashing your new perspective and truth or just unleashing your creative energy, this year's finalists are representatives of this theme. They've unleashed themselves into the world, and we're proud to have them at this year's Writers' Festival.
Happy reading,
Maggie Berardo, Class of '14

We are very excited about this year’s distinguished guests, and we hope that
you join us for one or more of the public events listed below.

Reading by Nick Flynn
Reception and booksigning to follow
Thursday, March 27, 4 p.m.
Winter Theatre, Dana Fine Arts Building

Reading by Terrance Hayes
Reception and booksigning to follow
Thursday, March 27, 8 p.m.
Winter Theatre, Dana Fine Arts Building

Reading by Louisa Hill ‘09
Reception and booksigning to follow
Friday, March 28, 1:00 p.m.
Winter Theatre, Dana Fine Arts Building

Building on a long tradition of inviting distinguished writers to campus to read their works, teach, and talk with students, the Writers’ Festival began in the spring of 1972 with May Sarton as the headliner. A statewide writing contest for colleges and universities in poetry and fiction was the centerpiece of the event: the finalists’ works were published in the festival magazine, and the visiting writers selected the prizewinners in each genre. Readings and workshops with the visiting writers rounded out the program, which was open to the public as well as to the campus community. 

Today, the festival maintains these founding traditions along with some new features: creative nonfiction and dramatic writing were added to the contest in the 1990s, an alumna writer is on the program almost every year, and starting in 2010, one of the visiting writers comes to campus for a week or two preceding the festival to teach a course for Agnes Scott creative writers. 

From Eudora Welty, Reynolds Price, Richard Wilbur, and Margaret Atwood in the early days, to Rita Dove, Jane Smiley, Tim O’Brien, John Updike, Anita Desai, and Junot Diaz in more recent times, the festival has brought great writers to the college to inspire and challenge our students and our audiences. A link on the left of this page will take you to a complete list of festival guests.