Lit Festival fuses plays, poems, art

mpus, which means that the annual literary festival is on its way.

The Mercyhurst Literary Festival, inspired by the renowned reading series at the University of Notre Dame, is hosted each spring by the English Department.

The festival, which was the result of the collaboration of English professors Jeffrey Roessner, Ph. D. and Kenneth Schiff, Ph. D. in 2003, became the start of the new tradition at Mercyhurst that focuses on the celebration of literature and fine arts.

Each year, the festival brings in a selection of talented speakers that vary in genres and can range from novelists to slam poets.

The readings given by the speakers are held for the public, but the authors often work and interact with students in small, intimate workshops as well.

In the past, the speakers who have visited the Erie campus include slam poet Mohja Kahf, and the author of “The Jane Austen Book Club,” Karen Joy Fowler, winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award.

This year, the first event of the literary festival is an onstage conversation between Brett D. Johnson, Ph. D. and Elizabeth Ashley, one of the definitive interpreters of Tennessee Williams’ work, held at 8 p.m. on March 26 in Taylor Little Theatre.

The spring play performed by the Mercyhurst Theatre Program, directed by Johnson, is the second event in the literary festival.

The play, written by Tennessee Williams, is “Clothes for a Summer Hotel.”

The play will be shown April 9 to 12 in Taylor Little Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, students and President’s Cardholders and $5 for youths and students with their Mercyhurst ID.

Poet Sean Thomas Dougherty will be also be making an appearance in the literary festival and performing some of his works on April 16, at 8 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre.

The final capstone event of the literary festival is the unveiling of Lumen, Mercyhurst’s Fine Arts and Literary Magazine.

The magazine is entirely student-produced, and includes works of poetry, short fiction and art, completed and submitted by students, and serves as an opportunity for students to share their talents with their peers.

The magazine also includes a flashdrive, which is reserved for longer works of fiction and poetry, and clips from music and dance performances held on campus.

At the final event of the literary festival, the winner of the P. Barry McAndrew Writing Contest will be announced, as well as the top three winners of the submissions to Lumen.

There will also be an open mic to welcome any students who wish to read their works aloud.

This year marks the 13th edition of the Mercyhurst Literary Festival, and the last organized by Schiff, who will be retiring this spring after 28 years on the Mercyhurst faculty.

Be sure to attend these fantastic events and support the accomplished guest speakers and creative work by the Mercyhurst students.

For additional information, contact Schiff at 814-824-2461 or