CHADRON – The public is invited to the free Story Catcher Festival at Chadron State College Friday, June 8, at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center Atrium. No pre-registration is required. The schedule starts at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m.
From 9:30 to 11 a.m., the Mari Sandoz Featured Writer, Markus Egeler Jones,will lead “Short & Sweet: Writing Shapely Stories.” Participants of this workshop will learn about and draft flash fiction. Jones is an assistant professor of English at Chadron State College. When not writing or teaching, he moonlights as a stone mason. The author of numerous published stories, his first novel, “How the Butcher Bird Finds Her Voice” has just been published.
The first afternoon session from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., “Hooks, Lines and No Stinkers,” will be led by the Mari Sandoz Featured Writer, Renee M. Laegreid. In this workshop, participants will consider effective storytelling techniques that have been used to create effective titles and opening passages. Laegreid specializes in the history of the American West, with a focus on gender and culture. She is a professor of History at the University of Wyoming where she teaches Women and Gender in the American West, as well as the history of the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, and between the World Wars. Her current research projects involve cultural and social analysis of western iconography, examining how symbols of the West have been created and shaped. She is the author of “Women on the North American Plains.”
The Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer, Jennifer Ippensen, will lead the 2 to 3:15 p.m. session, “Symbolic Sound and Syntax.” In this session, participants will explore the ways in which sound devices and grammatical structure can convey more than what the words alone communicate. Ippensen is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in creative writing who will graduate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in August 2018. Her fiction is forthcoming in “The Flatwater Rises: An Anthology of Short Fiction by Emerging Nebraska Writers” and the Summer 2018 issue of “Midwestern Gothic.” She has been teaching English and Language Arts classes since 2005 and has served as an adjunct instructor with Northeast Community College and Peru State College.
Writers will have an opportunity to share their work during an open mic performance from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Audience members may also participate.
Following a reception from 5 to 6 p.m., the keynote presentation, “Writing in the Remote,” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. will feature readings from Writers-in-Residence and University of Wyoming faculty members Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Nina S. McConigley and H. L. Hix. The readings will be followed with a roundtable discussion where the authors will explore the unique challenges and opportunities of living and writing in isolated and remote spaces, and respond to questions from the audience.
Lockwood is a professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities, with a joint appointment between the department of philosophy and in the MFA program in Creative Writing. He teaches courses in natural resource ethics, environmental justice and the philosophy of ecology, along with creative non-fiction writing workshops. His essays have been honored with a Pushcart Prize, a John Burroughs Award, the Albert Schweitzer Sermon Award, and inclusion in Best American Science & Nature Writing.
McConigley teaches at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She is the author of the story collection, “Cowboys and East Indians,” winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and winner of a High Plains Book Award. She was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and for “The Best New American Voices.”She was the 2010 recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award and was a finalist for the 2011 Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award.
Hix teaches in the philosophy department and the creative writing program. His poetry, essays, and other works have been published in “McSweeney’s,” “Georgia Review,” “Harvard Review,” “Boston Review,” “Poetry,”and recognized with an National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Peregrine Smith Award, and been translated into Spanish, Russian, Urdu and other languages. His most recent book is “Rain Inscription,” His recent poetry collections include“Chromatic,” a finalist for the National Book Award.