The Absolutely Most Up-to-Date Homecoming Schedule

This promises to be one of the most amazing homecoming weekends!

Here is the absolutely most up-to-date homecoming schedule!

Homecoming, May 27-31, 2015


5:15-6:30 p.m. Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence: John Patrick Shanley, author of Doubt. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom)


1:00-1:30 p.m. Registration. (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Pick up short reading for Literary Chat, which takes place at 11:30 a.m. Friday

1:30-2:00 p.m. Alumni Gathering (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Gather, say hello to old friends, and hear a Welcome Home from Sena. Light refreshments.

2:00 p.m. Urban Bourbon Trail (tour leaves from the Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

Led by Marjetta Geerling and Omar Figueras. Catch up with us at any point on the trail between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Text Marjetta at 305-695-9619 for the group’s current location.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Uncorking the Mystery of Publishing across Genres (Brown Hotel, 2nd floor, Bluegrass Room)

An informal conversation about the experience of placing your work. Share how your work ended up in the hands of agents and editors, and learn from the experiences of other alums.

5:15-6:30 p.m. Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery Ballroom)

–     Crystal Wilkinson (fiction), Water Street

–     K.L. Cook (fiction), Love Songs for the Quarantined

–     Helena Kriel (screenwriting), Skin

–     Edie Hemingway (writing for children & young adults), Road to Tater Hill

–     Silas House (fiction), Same Sun Here; The Coal Tattoo

–     Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem

–     Sena Jeter Naslund (fiction), The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman

7:30-9:30 p.m. Alumni Play Festival and Film Festival (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat B)

Hosted by Justin Dobring and Laura Morton Mattingly.


9:00-11:15 a.m. Alumni Workshops.

Fiction: Short Story (LIB328)

Fiction: Partial Novel (LIB329)

Poetry (LIB327)

Playwriting/Screenwriting (LIB202)

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. A Literary Chat*, facilitated by Nancy Long. (LIB329)

We’ll be discussing three wonderful (and short!) pieces that each have elements of both poetry and prose: a haibun (prose and haiku), a prose poem, and a work of zuihitsu, which is a genre of Japanese literature that generally consists of a series of loosely connected, fragmented essays, ideas, word pictures, and/or poems. We’ll talk about whatever aspects of craft or content strike our fancy and explore each of the styles/genre a bit, to see if it might be something we’d want to try on our own.

*Readings to be distributed at Homecoming Registration.

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch. Alumni have lunch on their own. The ELC deli, a.k.a. the “Pelican POD,” serves subs, pizza, and salads. (Students are attending a catered lunch on campus.)

1:30-2:15 p.m. Alumni Faculty Lecture. (ELC Lectorium)

Silas House. “The Transformation of Beauty Into Action.”

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken…even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood,” Audre Lorde once wrote. This lecture will expand on that notion and explore the ways that writing must seek to transform and be activist in its many ways, by telling one’s truth, by standing up for what one believes in, by observing and preserving. We will look at examples from writers like Marilynne Robinson, Larry Brown, Zora Neale Hurston, and others.

2:30-3:15 p.m. Guest Lecture: Magazine Publishing. (ELC Lectorium)

Cathy Medwick. “What Happened to My Essay?: How to Survive Writing for Magazines.”

You pitch an essay to a magazine editor and you get a rejection by return email. Or you hear nothing for months. Or ever. Or, hallelujah, your idea is accepted, you turn in the piece . . . and the edit barely resembles what you wrote. This lecture will explore the not-unbridgeable chasm between your artistic goals and the more pragmatic goals of the magazine: what to expect from the editing process, how to constructively interact with your editor, how to cut your losses when necessary, and how to predict whether the result will be worth the effort.


3:45-5:00 p.m. Celebration of Recently Published Books by Alumni. All students, alumni, and faculty welcome. Book signing to follow at SPLoveFest book expo. Books provided by Carmichael’s Bookstore. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation Room)

–     Priscilla Atkins (’08), The Café of Our Departure

–     Sherry Palmer (’12), Life with Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption

–     Aimee Zaring (’05), Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods

–     Colleen Wells (’10), Dinner with Doppelgangers: A True Story of Madness and Recovery

–     Karen George (’09), Swim Your Way Back

–     Barry George (’09), The One That Flies Back

–     Foust (’08), The Sins of Omission

–     Marci Johnson (’05), The Eyes of the Window

–     Kit (Willihnganz) Alloway (’08), Dreamfire

–     Darlyn Finch Kuhn (’09), Sewing Holes

–     Rosemary Rhodes Royston (’09), Splitting the Soil

5:00-6:00 p.m. SPLoveFest. Alumni and students display their books, journals, and anthologies and/or bring promotional material regarding artistics endeavor such as plays, movies, podcasts, literary services, blogs, websites, and more. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat)

6:00-7:00 p.m. The Flame: MFA Storytelling Open Mic. Oral storytelling by students. Alumni welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

9:00 p.m. Alumni After-Party Literary Reading. A slate of alumni read from their work. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

Teneice Durrant hosts.


9:00-10:15 a.m. Breakfast Mixer for alumni, Spring 2015 graduates, faculty, and staff. (Mansion Drawing/Dining Room)

10:30-11:30 a.m. Regional Alumni Breakout Sessions. Alumni meet together, then breakout by region to discuss possible regional events. (Gather in the 3rd floor lobby of the library. Breakout rooms: LIB327, LIB328, LIB329, and LIB202)

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Diana M. Raab Professional Development Sessions.

  • Alumni panel. “Living the Writing Life,” with Justin Dobring, Teneice Durrant, Katrina Kittle, Terry Price, Julie Stewart, and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. Alumni reflect on the many ways they keep writing alive in their day-to-day lives. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)
  • Dan Distasio. “Creature from the E-lagoon: Navigating the Murky Science and Fiction of Online Teaching” (LIB329)

According to the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million college students take online classes. Good news for writers seeking faculty positions that offer flexibility, income and time to write. Sounds great? Not so fast. Online schools are big business, and traditional schools are following the money trail. Whether you teach for a private liberal arts school or a mega for-profit institution, online teaching is a demanding, challenging and frustrating endeavor. This session will examine the different schools and options available to potential online instructors, and the expectations, exaggerations, and exasperations related to online teaching. Welcome to the E-lagoon!

  • Vickie Weaver. One-on-one agent pItch sessions. Reservation required. (Mansion)

2:30-3:30 p.m. PGRA and staff reading. (ELC Troutman Lectorium)

  • Margaret Harrington (’13)
  • Maria Steinmetz (’14)
  • Mark Vorenkamp (’14)
  •  Ashley Cook (’14)
  • Mary Knight (’13)
  • Ellyn Lichvar (’07)
  • Katy Yocom (’03)

3:45-5:45 p.m. Alumni Workshops.

Fiction: Short Story (LIB328)

Fiction: Partial Novel (LIB329)

Poetry (LIB327)

Playwriting/Screenwriting (LIB202)

6:00 p.m. Graduation. (Brown Hotel, 16th floor, Gallery)

After-graduation reception. All welcome. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Citation)

7:30 p.m. Champagne Toast and Farewell Dinner. Purchase ticket from Katy to attend. (Brown Hotel, 1st floor, Secretariat Room)


Have a safe trip! Put the next Homecoming on your calendar now: June 2-5, 2016.

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