College launches eighth annual literary festival

The eighth annual Mercyhurst College Literary Festival will open Thursday, April 15, with a reading by the novelist Anne Dawid in Taylor Little Theatre at 8:15 p.m.

The Literary festival, which began at Mercyhurst in 2003, has previously featured numerous poets and fiction writers as speakers, including Samuel Hazo, Randall Silvis, Robert Coover, Li-Young Lee, Robert Bly and Sonia Sanchez.

The festival’s featured writers for this year are Annie Dawid and Andrew Hudgins.

Dawid, who will be traveling all the way from the Rocky Mountains, is a full-time writer who in 2006 founded BloomsburyWest, a retreat for writers and artists.

She will read selections from her most recent work, “And Darkness Was Under His Feet,” a collection of stories loosely based on her own family history, dating back about 100 years. Her book won the 2007 Litchfield Award for Short Fiction and was then published in 2008.

Dawid, a past English professor and director of creative writing for 15 years, left teaching to be a full-time writer.

Some of her earlier books include “Lily in the Desert” and “York Ferry.”

Hudgins, who will be reading selections of his poetry on Thursday, April 22, has had many volumes of poetry published, including his most recent “Ecstatic in the Poison.”

In 1989, Hudson won the Poets’ Prize for his work “After the Lost War” and was one of three finalists for the 1985 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book “Saints and Strangers.”

In 1999, Hudgins was named Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Cincinnati, where he taught for 16 years.

Hudgins is the Humanities Distinguished Professor in English at The Ohio State University.

Mercyhurst College English Professors Dr. Kenneth Schiff and Dr. Jeffrey Roessner began the Literary Festival on campus in order to emulate the University of Notre Dame’s renowned reading series.

Schiff, director of the Literary Festival, expressed his enthusiasm about this year’s poets.

“I’m very excited to be able to bring both Dawid and Hudgins to Mercyhurst,” Schiff said. “I believe that the festival is a great opportunity to expose Mercyhurst students to award-winning, professional creative writers.”

The festival will close Thursday, April 29, at 8:15 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre with the unveiling of the 2010 edition of the Lumen, Mercyhurst College’s literary magazine. The magazine consists of poetry, short fiction, photography and art work created by Mercyhurst students.

Free copies of the Lumen will be distributed during the event as well as the announcement of the top three works from this year’s Lumen and the annual winner of the P. Barry McAndrew Prize for English Scholarship.

The Lumen reception, as well as the Dawid and Hudgin readings, are free and open to all who wish to join in a celebration of poetry and literature.