Akron's Literary Guild travels to BGSU for creative writing conference Winter Wheat

By: Sam Flinn

An adventure of epic creative proportions was on the minds of The University of Akron’s Literary Guild as they traveled across the state to attend this year’s Winter Wheat Festival of Writing at Bowling Green State University.

The Winter Wheat Festival is a yearly gathering of all aspiring literary students and professors, authors and everyday citizens alike. The program this year was held the weekend of Nov. 18 and it was at this festival that the University’s Literary Guild began putting their creative minds to work.

What exactly is Winter Wheat? It’s a week-long event filled with daily flavor of both reading and writing. It begins with a Thursday night reading, followed by Friday and Saturday, which are both filled with more craft-oriented sessions than one can choose from.

The Festival, which is held at Bowling Green State’s Student Union, is an almost four-day long event and consists of almost 60 different panels held on a wide range of topics from prompt writing to learning how to write beyond your comfort zone.

These panels not only allowed students to embrace fictional styles of writing, but also held panels that addressed those who leaned more toward poetry, the creative writing process and even events that impacted the way that this generation writes.

“This is great,” said Zach, a student from Bluffton University, after attending his second panel. “I usually write mostly poetry, but it’s so interesting to see how everyone reacts differently to these panels, and to make me write something I’m not quite used to.”

The conference not only helps people aspiring to be famous writers, but also helps those who just have an appreciation for writing.

Eric Wasserman, professor of English at The University of Akron, gave three presentations at Winter Wheat, one of which most members of the Literary Guild attended. Wasserman gave students a perspective look on how the 90’s shaped the current literary sensibility of fiction writers who came of age during the pre-9/11 decade.

Wasserman was excited to see that the Literary Guild had such an amazing turnout for this year.

“We’ve never had this many undergrads attend,” he said. “It’s usually mostly graduate students.”

Wasserman is excited to see if next year’s attendance at Winter Wheat will continue to be primarily undergraduate students. He was also adamant in expressing his ideas about the Akron Literary Guild and its presence at Winter Wheat:

“I think it’s important for everyone to find an appreciation for reading, but many Akron students are also exceptional budding writers, and the Literary Guild is a great way for them to continue that camaraderie outside the classroom,” Wasserman said.

Panels at Winter Wheat were not only restricted to those who were led by UA professors, but also a wide range of students and professors at Bowling Green.

Eric Schlich, a student pursuing his M.F.A. in Fiction at Bowling Green State University, gave a particularly interesting panel on the use of escalation in fiction.

“I love coming into something new, and being hesitant about it, but getting something very important and education out of it at the end,” said Patricia, a graduate student at Bowling Green.

Most of the panels contained some type of free-writing time, and challenged you to write prompts and use your creativity in less than a 30-minute period.

For more about The Akron Literary Guild, find them on Facebook, Twitter or sign up in the English Department on the 3rd floor of Olin to receive notification emails for when group meetings are held.

If you are interested in attending Winter Wheat next year after getting involved with the Literary Guild, you can find more information at bgsu.edu by searching “Winter Wheat Festival.”