Tag Archives: Anna Harris

Writers Weekend at Summerville brings National Book Award winner to GRU

The Third Annual Writers Weekend at Summerville, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 17, with a reading and signing by National Book Award-winner Phil Klay, is a literary event geared for writers.

Unlike the Sandhills Writers Series, which in the past has enjoyed a substantial budget and has targeted such luminaries as Ray Bradbury and Maxine Hong Kingston, the Writers Weekend at Summerville focuses on writers who are early in their careers or have recently started a new chapter in their career; writers who could connect with the current writing students and those the school is looking to recruit.

“The students are young, they’re full of enthusiasm and energy, and they really want to make writing a career,” said Assistant Professor Anna Harris, who is the director of the event. “So we wanted to put them in touch with people who remembered what that felt like, not people who had become successful and had lost touch with what it means to be an aspiring writer and a student writer.”

The ultimate intent, she said, is to grow the creative writing program, which has already expanded substantially over the last few years. The addition of several new classes, some course revisions, and some extra opportunities for student writers to work on and share their craft, has sparked so much interest that Harris said the department is in the process of hiring a creative nonfiction specialist who would teach workshops similar those being taught in poetry and fiction.

“One of the things that I think is atypical for an undergraduate creative writing program is the fact that we have a course called Literature for the Creative Writer,” Harris said. “It’s a literature class, but it’s geared for creative writing students and people who want to learn to think and read like a writer instead of reading like a critic.”

Writers and critics alike have both been vocal about their admiration for Phil Klay, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran who wrote “Redeployment.” As the only ticketed event of the weekend, the Friday night keynote is sure to be a popular one. Tickets are $16 and $28 depending on whether an audience member wants a paperback or hardcover copy of the book.

Proceeds will be shared between the Book Tavern, Augusta’s independent bookseller, and the Writers Weekend at Summerville.

Saturday, which has free events running from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., will feature a craft lecture by Klay and presentations by fellow writers Wiley Cash and Aja Monet, each of whom represents a different style of writing.

“We have a very eclectic, diverse group of people coming to campus, and that was international, because we’re trying to target a bunch of different populations,” Harris said.

And for those who like the informality of Saturday’s sessions, the Summerville Campus will be hosting the similarly structured Georgia Literary Festival the first weekend in November.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, click here.

Sand Hills Magazine celebrates 40th anniversary

Sandhills staff photo
Creative Writing Students and Sand Hills Staff members (left to right) Calvin W. Pennywell, Jr., Diana Royal, Dylan Smeak, and Emily Lacey at the release of the 40th anniversary issue.

It is a special edition of the new “Sand Hills Magazine” as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the publication.

Faculty advisor on the project Anna Harris said that the experience was one that she will remember but that the students deserve all the credit.

“This was my first year advising for Sand Hills, and with the anniversary, it was a big deal,” she said. “Both of my parents graduated from this school–then it was Augusta College–and my mother was included in the 1977 Sand Hills publication as a visual artist then.”

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, “Sand Hills Magazine” is a production of the English Department and showcases some of the best poetry, short stories, and art from around the university.

Harris said that there was a lot of history in this edition.

“The mother of our cover artist, Rosalind Avrett, was also the cover artist for a past issue,” she said.  “It was all very serendipitous.”

To prepare for the 40th anniversary, the students who designed and edited the publication looked over the prior issues and looked at examples from other schools to get ideas for this publication.

“I think it looks great, and it was special to see how they were able to set these goals and then go out and make it happen,” she said. “They made the most of this opportunity to really set a new standard for what “Sand Hills” will look like in the future.”

And, this edition was special for another reason, the first Georgia Regents University edition. The students took that seriously as well, according to Harris

“In the fall, when they started to work on the project, the students agreed to open up submissions to the Health Sciences Campus, as we are now one school,” she said. “And as it turns out, one of the award-winning submissions for this publication was written by a Health Sciences student.”

The students pick one poem, one piece of prose, and one piece of graphic art to honor as the best in each edition. The staff members make the choices for publication and award.  The process is blind so they do not know who submitted each piece when making their selections, according to Davis.

The winners for this edition were Amy Thorne for her poem “Firsts,” Health Sciences student Fahad Khan for his story “The Balloon Peddler,” and Rosalind Avrett for her art “Tour Jete,” which also graces the cover of the publication.

You can pick up the new edition for free at stands in Allgood Hall, University Hall or Washington Hall.