Professional Development

Aspiring student writers network with professional authors

Oglethorpe students studying creative writing and English recently attended the third annual Broadleaf Writers Conference—an opportunity made possible by Prof. Jessica Handler.  An accomplished author, Handler’s involvement in the Atlanta literary community has given her students a peek into the world of the working writer.

Hosted by The Broadleaf Writers Association, the two-day conference was held at the Decatur Public Library and featured all-star panels of writers, agents, and editors from metro Atlanta.

Tower Literary Magazine staff members Laurel Parrott, Laurann Herrington, and Ivy Jones at the Broadleaf Writers Conference.

Students were able to engage directly with professionals about their own experiences with writing and publishing.

“The Oglethorpe community is wonderfully engaged in the opportunities Atlanta offers,” said Handler. “When a chance to participate in a writers’ conference or a book festival comes along, I’m delighted to make that connection for interested students.”

Students attendees represented various student organizations, including The Tower literary magazine and English honors society Sigma Tau Delta.

For Sigma Tau Delta President Ryan Holtzen ’20, the panel “Three Sides to Every Story: Why the POV You Choose Matters” resonated. “(It) greatly changed my perspective of writing. As someone who mainly writes poetry, the panel demonstrated that I can employ novel writing techniques into my poetry to make a more narrative form.”

“Attending conferences like this one allows a student to learn to see themselves as a literary citizen and a writer,” said Handler. “My hope is that students who attended…heard from well-known authors about the challenges and rewards of writing.”

“Hearing a published writer’s take on the craft of ‘world building,’ shaping a mystery plot, writing Young Adult fiction, or their road toward publication enhances the classroom experience. Meeting authors and conversing face-to-face begins to demystify the idea of writing as a profession.”

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