Fiction festival will bring authors to FMU

Christopher McKagen, Staff Writer

Four renowned authors will be featured in the 6th annual Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival on Thursday, Nov. 10 and Friday, Nov. 11 at Francis Marion University.

The festival will showcase authors Daniel Woodrell, Patricia Smith, Amy Bloom and Michael Chitwood in a series of panel discussions, book readings and book signings.

Dr. Beckie Flannagan, Professor of English, and Dr. Jo Angela Edwins, Associate Professor of English, are co-directing this year’s festival.

“I think one of the goals of the campus community in general is to bring in people that wouldn’t normally be here to enlighten the students as well as the community,” Flannagan said. “I believe it’s important for people to be exposed to good literature.”

There are eight events scheduled for both days, including receptions at The Cottage.

The authors will take part in panel discussions in order to answer questions from students, faculty and community members. There will be a screening on Thursday, Nov. 10 of the Academy Award nominated film “Winter’s Bone,” a screen adaption of the novel written by Woodrell.

Two book readings will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10 and three are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11. The extra reading on Friday will be from the Snow Island Review, the student literary magazine.

The authors will hold book signings on both days. All of the events will be held in Lowrimore Auditorium, except the receptions.

Flannagan said there will be different combinations of presentations by the authors at different times, so most students will be able to attend.

Flannagan also said that, because there are several classes studying “Winter’s Bone,” a colloquium was established so that students can speak directly to Woodrell about his novel.

“Our composition classes here at Francis Marion, as well as many of the literature classes, are teaching that novel,” Flannagan said. “So there will be a special time on Thursday during the festival, when Woodrell will just be talking about ‘Winter’s Bone’.”

Arielle Buckman, a junior double-majoring in English and international studies, said that she enjoyed meeting the authors and listening to the readings at the festival last year.

“I liked it better when the author was reading than when I was reading myself,” Buckman said. “When the author read part of them out loud, I was more intrigued because they were excited to read. It’s exciting getting to meet people whose work you have been reading all semester.”

The FMU Department of English’s website has more information, including schedules, about this year’s Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival.