Academics

Inspiring aspiring writers at Oglethorpe

Jessica Handlerbroadleaf logo, an award-winning author and professor at Oglethorpe, is putting her professional writing connections in Atlanta to use to help aspiring student writers.

Broadleaf Writers Association, based in Decatur, Ga., offered a full scholarship—open only to Oglethorpe students—to attend their two-day annual writers conference in September and to receive a one-year association membership. Applicants were evaluated on a writing submission.

The goal is to promote confidence in writing, awareness of community, and access to jobs and internships in writing-related fields.

“The decision was a tough one for the judges,” said Professor Handler, who is a member of the association. “Our thanks to Oglethorpe writers Amanda Ake, Sarah Fitts,  Kellen Flatt, Elizabeth Kirkwood, Hannah Lenkey, Jared McSwain, and Aadithya Prem. Their work demonstrated talent, passion, initiative, and creativity!”

In the end, Aadithya Prem ’17, a communications and rhetoric studies major, was named the scholarship winner.

“I decided to submit a Gender Memoir I wrote for a class I took in the Spring 2016 semester,” said Aadithya about his writing submission. “The memoir was about my experience wearing makeup for dance and how that led me to have renewed thoughts on the expression of masculinity and what it means to be a man. The main motivation for me to take a chance and apply for this scholarship was to see if my writing was improving. I wanted to see if my writing could create the impact I wanted it to.”

The conference featured an all-star cast of talented writers, agents and editors, and sessions packed with insightful information and experience, and the chance for attendees to meet with a literary agent.

“This was my first time attending a conference for writers,” said Aadithya. “It was a great experience getting to meet people that function in various levels of the publication industry. I learned a lot about writing as a craft, as well as the editorial and publication industry in general.”

Each student who submitted to the contest received a one-year membership to the association, with invitations and discounts for special events, and a complimentary members-only e-newsletter subscription. Students also were given the opportunity to volunteer at the conference, where they could meet directly with the authors, editors, and agents present.

But, that isn’t the end of the opportunities for these writers and others. On October 29, Broadleaf Writers Association will host Writers Work, a series of panel discussions with working writers, also targeted specifically for Oglethorpe students. Panel topics range from professional writing options while a writer is working on a novel (i.e., making a living as a writer) to insights into writing for the media, theater, and the press, and finding the confidence to get your work “out there.”

Panelists include marketing and communications expert Alison Law and Kate Sweeney, of WABE-FM radio and author of the acclaimed narrative nonfiction book American Afterlife, plus several regional journalists, editors, and publishers. The goal is to promote confidence in writing, awareness of community, and access to jobs and internships in writing-related fields.

The events will be held in the Turner Lynch Campus Center in Room 236, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and is open to all students, with no registration necessary.

Prof. Jessica Handler, Aadithya Prem '17, and Zach Steele, executive director of the Broadleaf Writers Association, at the writers conference in September.

Prof. Jessica Handler, Aadithya Prem ’17, and Zach Steele, executive director of the Broadleaf Writers Association, at the writers conference in September.

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