Agnes Scott’s Annual Writers’ Festival Approaches

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It’s time once again for a piece of Agnes Scott College’s proud literary history to resurface — The Writers’ Festival. Visiting writers to the 2010 Writers’ Festival, March 25-26, include Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Scott Russell Sanders, poet Paul Guest and Agnes Scott alumna and fiction writer Sarah Scoles ’07.
Held annually since 1972, Agnes Scott’s Writers’ Festival brings nationally acclaimed writers to campus in an atmosphere of community with student writers from the colleges and universities of Georgia. While on campus, distinguished guests give public readings, award prizes in the festival’s statewide literary competition and conduct workshops for finalists in the competition.

Each year, student writers from Georgia colleges and universities submit their fiction, poetry, personal essays and one-act plays to the Writers’ Festival contest. Agnes Scott publishes the finalists’ works in the festival magazine and the visiting writers award prizes for the best work in each category. All finalists attend a workshop with one of the visiting writers.

Past visiting writers to the festival include Eudora Welty, Julia Alvarez, John Updike, Margaret Atwood, James Dickey, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wilbur, Jane Smiley, Michael S. Harper and Marsha Norman ’69x, H’05.

This is the second time Scott Russell Sanders has attended the festival, and his visit this year combines his writing with his interest in the environment. A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift to a sustainable society, was published in 2009.

During his two weeks at Agnes Scott, Sanders will be teaching a for-credit course, Writing as a Way of Discovery; visiting creative writing and environmental and sustainability studies classes; participating in question and answer sessions with the campus; delivering a reading followed by a book signing; and leading a workshop with Writers’ Festival finalists.

Among his more than 20 books are novels, collections of stories, works of personal nonfiction and storybooks for children. His writing examines the human place in nature, the pursuit of social justice, the relation between culture and geography and the search for a spiritual path. His recent book, A Private History of Awe, is a coming-of-age memoir, love story and spiritual testament and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Sanders studied physics and English at Brown University and, as a Marshall Scholar, completed a Ph.D. in English at the University of Cambridge. In 1971 he joined the faculty of Indiana University, where he taught until 2009, retiring as Distinguished Professor of English.
Paul Guest is the author of three volumes of poetry and a forthcoming memoir. His debut, The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, was awarded the 2002 New Issues Poetry Prize. His second collection, Notes for My Body Double, was awarded the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. His third collection, My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge, was published by the Ecco Press in 2008. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Kenyon Review and elsewhere. His memoir, One More Theory about Happiness, will be published by Ecco in May. Guest, recipient of a 2007 Whiting Writers' Award, lives in Atlanta.
Sarah Scoles ’07, an astrophysics major at Agnes Scott, recently graduated from Cornell University’s M.F.A. program, where she completed a collection of short stories featuring female narrators who are intelligent, neurotic and scientific and who feel some kind of disconnect between their brains and the world around them. She teaches writing at Cornell University and plans to observe and chronicle the lives of astronomers at remote radio telescopes. Her work has appeared in *DIAGRAM*, *SNReview*, *Sotto Voce* and “Fringe.”

Scheduled 2010 Writers’ Festival events are free and open to the public including:

Reading by writing contest finalists from Agnes Scott
Wed, Mar 24, 2010, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Alston Campus Center, Amelia Davis Luchsinger Lounge

Q and A with guest authors, Scott Russell Sanders, Paul Guest and Sarah Scoles
Thur., March 25, 2 p.m.
Alston Campus Center, Amelia Davis Luchsinger Lounge

Reading by Paul Guest
Thur., March 25, 4 p.m.
Julia Thompson Smith Chapel
Reception and book signing to follow

Reading by Scott Russell Sanders
Thur., March 25, 8 p.m.
Dana Fine Arts Building, Winter Theatre
Reception and book signing to follow

Reading by Sarah Scoles
Fri. March 26, 10 a.m.
Dana Fine Arts Building, Winter Theatre
Reception and book signing to follow

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.