We’re two events into the 2019 Mercyhurst Literary Festival.
So far, the two authors to speak as a part of the series were Jennifer Moore and Thrity Umrigar.
The Festival still has two more events to go through, and it will end with the unveiling of the Lumen, Mercyhurst’s Literary and Fine Arts magazine.
I think, to start with the practical side of things, that these events are important for Mercyhurst because it allows students to interact with authors directly and gain a deeper understanding of the creative process.
All too often, it feels as if authors are out of our reach.
We may have burning questions we want to ask them, about how they write and what they write, but we can rarely ask them directly.
An author’s methods of creation is something not often divulged to those not personally acquainted with the author.
The question-and-answer sessions that the Literary Festival provides are a way for students to get answers for these questions.
This helps students grow as artists, regardless of if they’re a prose writer or a different kind of creator.
On the less practical, but equally important metaphorical level, it gives Mercyhurst University a direct way to celebrate literature.
Something that most everybody has noted is that the liberal arts seem to have fallen out of favor in recent times.
Literature is less revered than it used to be, and authors are less respected.
It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about how authors just need to get a real job, or the like.
Filmmakers are seen as people chasing impotent dreams.
Actors are reduced to people who are “just pretending.”
Even musicians, who provide the music that colors our lives, are seen as little more than people trying to avoid a traditional career.
This is an attitude that I’ve even seen some students express right here at Mercyhurst University.
A place which is, as you might know, a literal liberal arts university.
In times like this, it’s important for us to celebrate literature, and the arts in general, and the Literary Festival lets us do just that.
The Mercyhurst Literary Festival gives us an avenue to celebrate authors and the works they create.
It’s why this event is called a “Literary Festival” — it’s because it’s a celebration of literary works.
And in this day and age, I think that’s something worth holding onto.