Three writers will visit campus this week for Concordia’s annual Visiting Writer’s Festival.
“I am always looking for ways to make the student experience [at Concordia] a student-centered one,” said Bill Snyder, an English professor at Concordia and the coordinator of the event.
Each year, a poet, fiction writer, and nonfiction writer or journalist are invited to this three-day event. This year, the event runs from Oct. 4-6. The 2017 writers include Denise Lajimodiere for poetry, Alan Davis for fiction, and Michelle Leon for nonfiction.
“I admire their work a lot … They all should be very interesting; they’re all accomplished writers,” Snyder said
According to Snyder, the writers will be involved in numerous events that are open to the public including a reading, a student-moderated panel, and a masterclass. They will also be visiting classes during their time at Concordia; Lajimodiere will be visiting Snyder’s inquiry seminar, creative writing course, and poetry seminar. She will also be visiting Heidi Goldberg’s inquiry seminar, which explores connections between art, crafts, daily life, traditions, and identity.
“We are very much looking forward to [Lajimodiere’s] visit and learning about the work she makes in birch bark biting and beading, both in technique and process, as well as cultural, spiritual, natural, and personal content in the work,” Goldberg said.
All three of the authors are from the Midwest area. Snyder said he often finds inspiration for who to bring to campus from the Minnesota Book Award nominees and winners. Lajimodiere currently works at North Dakota State University as an assistant professor of educational leadership. Lajimodiere’s “Dragonfly Dance,” written in 2010, is her debut poetry collection and is written from the perspective of a Native American woman.
According to Goodreads, “Lajimodiere opens a door into the lives of Native girls and women. Her poems often reflect the deep tensions between Native culture and white culture.”
Alan Davis’ “How Bravely Vegetative” is a collection of short stories and the winner of Prize Americana for Fiction 2010. Originally from New Orleans, Davis now lives in Minnesota, teaching English at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is also the senior editor at New Rivers Press.
“Alan Davis writes with a poetʼs sense of language, lyricism, and imagination. His prose is exquisitely crafted, and always fresh. The world he brings to life is as varied and unpredictable as life itself–sometimes magical, sometimes mysterious, sometimes chilling, sometimes heartbreakingly innocent. The range … is nothing short of amazing,” Clint McCown, author of The Weatherman, said in a review of the book.
Michelle Leon is the former bassist of Babes in Toyland, an early ‘90s Minneapolis band. Her memoir, “I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland,” is about her time in the band, including highs and lows.
“Leon’s sensitive, sensory prose puts readers right on stage with Babes in Toyland while also conveying the uncertainty, vulnerability, and courage needed by a girl who never felt like she fit in to somehow find her place in the world,” the Minnesota Historical Society’s description for the book read.
Of all of the events these three authors will participate in throughout the week, Snyder is most excited about the master classes that they will host on Thursday night.
“It should be a really interesting way for students to get insights and ideas about writing other than from the English department,” Snyder said.