FMU hosts fiction, poetry festival


Joshua Lloyd, Managing Editor

The ninth annual Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival is set for Nov. 6 and 7, and will bring four award-winning writers to campus in a two day celebration of artistic writing.

The events will be held in the Cauthen Educational Media Center’s (CEMC) Lowrimore Auditorium; all activities are free of charge and open to the general public.

This year’s festival will feature Megan Abbott, Ron Carlson, Denise Duhamel and Tim Seibles; all of whom are nationally recognized authors and poets.

The special guests will hold book readings, discussion panels and colloquiums throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, with book signings and an informal “meet-and-greet” reception at The Cottage on both evenings.

Also on the roster for this year’s festival are select readings from the “Snow Island Review,” Francis Marion’s student literary journal.

The list of accolades for each visiting author is lengthy, which speaks volumes about the effort behind securing them as speakers for the event.

Abbot, an Edgar award winning author, has published seven novels; including her latest work, “The Fever,” which was named one of the Best Books of the Summer by the New York Times, People, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon and the Los Angeles Times.

Several of her stories can be seen in anthologies, such as “Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year” and “Best American Mystery Stories of 2014.”

Carlson’s short stories have appeared in several publications, such as Esquire, Harpers, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, as well as multiple anthologies of short fiction.

His short stories have been performed on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts,” and his book “Ron Carlson Writes a Story” is taught in universities throughout the nation. He is also the recipient of numerous national literary awards and recognitions.

Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry, “Blowout, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of a 2014 Paterson Poetry Prize. Several of her works have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and Bill Moyers’s PBS poetry special, “Fooling with Words.”

She is currently a guest editor for “The Best American Poetry 2013,” and a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

Seibles is the author of several poetry collections and his first book, “Body Moves,” was recently re-released by Carnegie Mellon University Press as part of their Contemporary Classics series.

As the recipient of numerous awards and recognition, as well as an honorary doctorate degree from Misericordia University, his works can be seen in a variety of anthologies. Most recently, his poem “Sotto Voce: Othello, Unplugged” was featured in “Best American Poetry 2013.”

The English department begins the process of choosing authors almost a year in advance and strives to ensure the selections are beneficial to everyone involved. They choose various “common texts” that can be taught throughout the department, as well as other pieces of literature that are applicable to certain courses, and then reach out to the authors.

Last year’s festival showed a larger student turnout than any previous festival and the event’s planning committee hopes this year’s festival will be even more successful.

Remember, all events are free of charge and last throughout the day on Thursday, Nov. 6 and Friday, Nov. 7. Stop by Lowrimore Auditorium in the CEMC for a chance to delve into the world of creative fiction and poetry.