About 300 people attended the ninth annual MCC-Longview Literary Festival on Oct. 27, which featured some 20 authors, editors and publishers. The keynote speaker, alternate history novelist James Young, was ” a huge hit,” according to project coordinator and MCC-Longview English instructor Susan Satterfield.
The festival, in the campus’ Cultural Arts Center, included readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, open mic sessions and book sales and autographs. Session topics included creating believable dialogue, writing sensory details, self-publishing, the writer’s life, the business of writing and working with editors.
The first-place winners of this year’s mail-in writing contests were Maggie Warren (poetry) and Ian Kweon (short story), who each received $25 Starbucks gift cards.
Moriah Zachrias also scored a gift card for winning the Story in a Bag contest. Participants pull one card from each of five bags: first line, setting, plot, object and character. They then use those to write a story.
“It can be quite tricky, especially if you get elements that don’t really go together,” Satterfield says. “It’s one of the most popular contests we do.”
MCC-Longview student Darrien McKenzie said he enjoyed the festival, particularly sessions on “Writing Short Fiction,” with authors Randal Eldon Green and Sean Demory, and a poetry workshop with Lindsey Martin-Bowen and Carl Rhoden.
Green and Demory “provided me with some strategies that can be utilized to write better short stories, while also explaining mistakes that can make a short story less than favorable,” McKenzie said.
As for poetry, that’s something he’s “only analyzed, not written myself.” The speakers “opened my understanding of poems and exposed me to different styles of poetry I had not given much thought to.”
Gay romance will be the theme of next year’s literary festival, Satterfield says.
Here are some scenes from the event.