This year, the 41st Annual Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival will continue to live up to the standards that have been set by the longest Writers’ Festival in the state. In the past we’ve been able to welcome such guests as Margaret Atwood, Junot Diaz, Jamacia Kincaid, John Updike, and Julia Alvarez to our campus. This year we are looking forward to welcoming three exciting guests coming to campus at the end of March 2012: Joy Harjo, Benjamin Percy, and Jacqueline Pardue Goldfinger.
Joy Harjo was born into Native American and Canadian ancestry and her work is highly autobiographical. Harjo has won such honors as the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. She continues to be influenced by her Muskogee Creek heritage and once commented, “I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings,” in an article for Poetry Foundation. As a result of her passion for art and expression, many of her poems have been put to music and she continues to make music with her band Poetic Justice. From one of her many collections of poetry, “Deer Dancer” further emphasizes her attention to nature. Her works are available for purchase through Amazon. Joy Harjo will be reading at Agnes Scott College on March 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. and she will be teaching a 2-week workshop at Agnes Scott College prior to the Writers’ Festival.
Benjamin Percy has been said to be “unafraid of story, plot, and writes of plain lives in crisis without blinking,[…] the rhythms of his sentences ever taking us more deeply inside.” Percy currently teaches at the Iowa State University MFA program and is the author of two novels, Red Moon (forthcoming from Grand Central / Hachette in 2012), The Wilding, and two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. In an interview with Publishers’ Weekly, he stated that he “never dreamed he’d be a writer.” But write he does, as he talks about his approach to writing with Ben Evans. In addition to teaching at ISU’s MFA program, he also teaches at the Low-Residency program at Pacific University where he continues to inspire students, as seen in The Oregonian. Benjamin Percy will be reading at Agnes Scott College on March 29, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Jacqueline Pardue Goldfinger is an alumna of Agnes Scott College from the class of 2000 as well as a dramaturg and award-winning playwright/screenwriter. Goldfinger’s works are centered on comedy, gender issues, race, and sexuality and she has produced a great number of works. As she herself puts it, “[her] work is inspired by the Southern Gothic style…However, I also believe that it’s important to move beyond the plantation aesthetic…while maintaining a distinct and vibrant Southern identity.” Her works are being produced and performed in Philadelphia, New York, and Raleigh, as well as other places across the country. She has won such distinctions as Playwrights Theatre’s National Play for the 21st Century Competition, Ohio Independent Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and Film Industry Network Screenplay Competition. Samples of her plays are available on her website through Playscripts. Jacquline Pardue Goldfinger will be reading at Agnes Scott College on March 30, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
We hope we’ll see you at these events come March!