Literary Festival to bring famous authors to Mercyhurst

Mercyhurst University’s annual Literary Festival is the perfect event for those who have a passion for reading, writing or are simply looking for something interesting to do on a quiet school night.

Mercyhurst will be hosting three speakers and holding a Lumen reception for this year’s Literary Festival. A number of authors will be speaking, and after each event there will be a book signing of the author’s collections of work.
The purpose of the festival is to bring accomplished writers to campus to read their works and to interact with student authors.

“This is a great opportunity for students to have a direct encounter with well-known, prize-winning authors,” Associate Professor of English Ken Schiff, Ph.D., said.

The events are open to all, including students, teachers and the public.

In collaboration with the tenth annual Mercyhurst Literary Festival, which is directed by Schiff, Professor of Religious Studies Tom Forsthoefel, Ph.D., and the Erie County Poet Laureate Initiative are sponsoring the first event.

This is Forsthoefel’s second year as Poet Laureate of Erie County, so he is sharing his passion for literature by inviting Jane Hirshfield to speak to the Mercyhurst community.

This event will take place Thursday, March 29, at 8:15 p.m. in the Walker Recital Hall. Hirshfield will speak about her most recent collection of poetry, along with her six previous works of literature.

The next speaker during this festival, Terry Bisson, will speak on Monday, April 2, at 8:15 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre.

Bisson is a science fiction writer who just released his new novel “Any Day Now” this month. Bisson has also published six other novels.

He has won many honors in the science fiction field, including the Nebula and Hugo Awards.

The final speaker for the 2012 Literary Festival is Peter Coyote. Coyote will speak on Tuesday, April 3, at 8:15 p.m. in the Taylor Little Theatre.

Coyote is known for being an actor, author and activist. He is an Emmy Award-winning narrator of documentaries, including Ken Burns’ “The Dust Bowl.”

The Literary Festival will conclude with the Lumen event on Thursday, April 12, at 8:15 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre.

Lumen comes from the Latin word for “light” and “opening,” so this is a time to shed the light on Mercyhurst University’s students’ work. Attendees will celebrate the works of Mercyhurst students, witness the release of the arts magazine, and present writing awards.

The Lumen is Mercyhurst’s student arts magazine, which has evolved into an interactive multimedia DVD that includes visual art, poetry and fiction.

This year’s Lumen has been co-edited by seniors Sarah Price and Chrissy Mihalic and designed by senior Casey Krein and junior Jeff Thiede.

The faculty advisers for the Lumen are Schiff, English Professor Marnie Sullivan, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of graphic design Jodi Staniunas-Hopper.

The Lumen reception will include a presentation of the 2011-2012 Lumen. Cash prizes for the top three literary works will be awarded. After the unveiling there will be an open mic where students can express their creative works.

For a chance to hear great literary works, attend the Literary Festival events starting Thursday, March 29, through Thursday, April 12.