Campus News

Southern Literary Festival comes to UT Martin, April 4-7


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin will host the 2018 Southern Literary Festival on the main campus April 4-7. Bobbie Ann Mason, author of “Shiloh and Other Stories,” “The Girl in the Blue Beret” and a collection of additional titles, will serve as keynote speaker at 6:30 p.m., April 5, in the Boling University Center’s Watkins Auditorium. All festival events are free and open to the public.

This is the first time UT Martin will host the festival, which also serves as an undergraduate writing conference and competition for students across the region.

Events begin with an opening reception at 6 p.m., April 4, at the Martin Coffee House on Lindell Street in downtown Martin. Activities on April 5-6 include a selection of workshops, listed below. All workshops will be held in the Boling University Center.

April 5
• “Lyrics not poetry”; room 206; 2 p.m.
• “Writing tiny poems”; room 111; 2 p.m.
• “If a picture’s worth a thousand words, how much can I get for a book with both?”; room 206; 3:30 p.m.
April 6
• “How to think like a poet: A reading and discussion”; room 111; 9 a.m.
• “Authenticity and autochthonic”; room 230; 9 a.m.
• “Learning to see and play as a writer”; room 231; 9 a.m.

Festival events also include lunchtime readings by authors Dixon Bynum at 12:30 p.m., April 5, and Ann Fisher-Wirth at noon, April 6. Both will take place in the Paul Meek Library. A special community concert will begin at 5 p.m., April 6, in Weldon Park in downtown Martin. The festival concludes with a breakfast reception and readings from student award-winners April 7.

The Southern Literary Festival was founded in 1937 by representatives from 10 Southern colleges, including such writers as Robert Penn Warren, to celebrate Southern literature and culture. The festival has been held by a different member school, now numbering more than 30, each year since, with the exception of 1942-46 at the end of World War II.

Mason joins the ranks of Southern authors such as Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, John Gould Fletcher and Flannery O’Connor who have been associated with the festival in years past. In addition to Mason’s keynote address, other speakers, including poet Jeff Hardin, from Savannah, Tennessee; Dr. Leslie LaChance, freelance editor and former UT Martin faculty member; and Louisiana songwriter Jeff Gordon will conduct workshops on a variety of subjects.

For more information, contact Dr. John Glass, associate professor of English and conference facilitator, at 731-881-7288 or


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