Last Thursday, Feb. 18, Lawrence University welcomed writers Erin McGraw and Andrew Hudgins to showcase their writing in “An Evening of Fiction and Poetry.” The reading lasted from around 4:30 to 6 p.m., during which both writers read from a collection of their own written works.
The authors came to promote two varying strands of writing. Hudgins occupied the first thirty minutes of the event by reciting original poetry and McGraw filled the remaining time reading a few of her fictional short stories. Both segments were cushioned by introductory speeches by Assistant Professor of English Melissa Range and Associate Professor of English David McGlynn.
In his introductory speech, McGlynn mentioned that his friendship with McGraw facilitated her presence that evening. The two guest writers are married and were invited to speak together at one event. Range expressed much admiration for the works of Hudgins, deeming them “humorous, dark and compassionate.”
The writers also promoted their books, which were available for purchase at the back of the room. The session ended with a short question-and-answer session.
According to Range, these types of events offer a “vital” source of inspiration for aspiring writers on campus. “As far as I’ve seen, they’ve always been pretty good,” Range added, commenting more generally on similar events that have been held in the past.
Hudgins also noted the importance of poetry recitals and fiction readings on college campuses during the question-and-answer portion of the event. “Poetry lets us enjoy the pleasures of the world, because what a grim life it would be if we worked eighteen hours a day, slept, got up and then did it again,” said Hudgins, addressing the topic with a famous quote.
Freshman Claire Engman, who decided to attend the reading after previously enjoying a similar event, appreciated the contrasting literary works. “I thought the readings presented an excellent mélange of two mediums of artistry that are frequently overlooked in the modern world of literature. Erin McGraw’s final short story centered on college icebreakers also made the event unexpectedly topical,” said Engman.
“It was so easy to lose oneself in the unceasing fluidity of the writers’ performances, diminishing the sometimes-intimidating,” replied Engman when asked about what aspect of the reading she most enjoyed. “They harmoniously transitioned into a discussion instigated by an audience member about the mere practicalities and simultaneous joys of being an aspiring writer whilst in university,” she continued.
“Overall the reading was a well-rounded event perfectly tailored to the word-hungry student,” concluded Engman.