‘Writers in Residence’ ready for a new year

By Emily Topper | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Professor Jim Wilson heads up the Writers for Residence events and the FLAC conference.

Dr. Jim Wilson heads up the Writers in Residence events and the FLAC conference.

Photo by the St. Augustine Record

With the start of another school year already underway, this year’s Writers in Residence events are up and running.

Created in 1981 by Dr. Carl Horner, Writers in Residence hosts a series of events which showcase writers, novelists and playwrights who have furthered their craft at the graduate or post-graduate level. These events usually begin in September and continue over the course of the academic year.

Since 2002, Dr. Jim Wilson has been the director of the program. Previously, Wilson taught at the University of North Florida, Remington College at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana. Wilson, a professor in the English department, continues to uphold the same ideals that Horner had for the program.

“Our goal is to bring literary writers with advanced degrees who are well published to the school,” says Wilson.

The chosen authors are determined by the English department, who decide on the panelists before each academic school year begins.

Wilson believes that Writers in Residence has a positive influence on both the students at Flagler College and the St. Augustine community.

Each year, the events include bringing writers of different styles of fiction to the campus to meet with students—aspiring writers and non-writers alike. The authors will speak at classes and answer questions from students regarding graduate school applications as well as their own experiences in the publishing world. In addition, Writers in Residence hosts free workshops and readings with the authors that are open to both students and the public.

In previous years, the program has hosted many highly-acclaimed authors. In 1993, Writers in Residence welcomed Pulitzer Prize finalist Tim O’Brien, and Pulitzer Prize winner W.D. Snodgrass in 1998. Other authors to have taken part in the program include John Frederick Nims (1992), Dennis Lehane (2008) and John Dufreshne (2011). This year, two of the featured authors are Ira Sukrungruang (“Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy”; “In Thailand It Is Night”) and Joe Millar (“Blue Rust”; “Overtime”). Sukrungruang will speak on Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gamache-Koger Theater, followed by Millar on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.

In addition to the Writers in Residence events, Flagler will also be hosting the Florida Literary Arts Coalition’s (FLAC) Other Words Conference, scheduled from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10. Similar to Flagler’s Writers in Residence Program, the Other Words Conference will allow for students to meet with authors and attend panels. These daytime events are free to students and alumni of Flagler College, but tickets will be sold to the general public. Featured writers at the FLAC conference include Gianna Russo, D.K. Roberts and Rhonda Riley.

Wilson, as FLAC President, is eager for students to attend the workshops hosted by both Writers in Residence and the Other Words Conference.

Further dates for both Writers in Residence and the Other Words Conference can be found on the Flagler College website.

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