Newman University presents 16th Annual Literary Festival April 9-11

Apr 02, 2015

Newman University will present the 16th Annual Literary Festival April 9, 10, and 11 at various locations on the University campus. The theme for this year’s event is “Science and Literature.” The special guest speaker will be Elizabeth Hand, who will offer her unique perspective on science and fiction as someone who holds a Bachelor of Science degree, and as a science fiction author with fourteen published books.

Newman Assistant Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente, Ph.D. said the Literature Festival, “is an annual opportunity that has been offered by the English Department for the past 16 years now, for the faculty, students, staff, and members of the wider community to come together and celebrate literature.”

The Newman Literary Festival was created as a way for people to celebrate literature and other forms of written arts. It is a combination of scholarly presentations/analyses (typically essay readings) and creative interpretations such as poems, short stories, scenes from plays, music and visual art.

“Starting around 3 o’clock it moves from the library to Jabara Theater, where we have more performance oriented type of events,” said Professor of English Bryan Dietrich, Ph.D., who helped start Literary Festival. This year, the performance events include plays, and a presentation by Newman Provost Michael Austin, Ph.D. on his new book Rereading Job: The Ancient World’s Greatest Poem.

The keynote speaker, Elizabeth Hand, grew up in Yonkers, and Pound Ridge, N.Y., before attending the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Her first short story, “Prince of Flowers,” was published in 1988 in the Twilight Zone magazine. Since then, Hand has written and published 14 cross-genre novels, four collections of short fiction, and has received various prestigious awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award (twice), and the World Fantasy Award (four times).

Hand holds a bachelor of science degree in cultural anthropology from Catholic University, and currently divides her time between the Maine coast and North London, the setting for her upcoming noir novel, Hard Light, awaiting publication in 2016. Her short novel Wylding Hall will be published this spring.

This year’s conference will also feature a “Space Prom” on the evening of Friday, April 10, as part of the celebration and as a way for students to show off their work. “It’s nice to be able to let our hair down a little bit, and so we thought a Space Prom would be nice,” said Dietrich. “We’ve got the DeVeils playing… If you want to dress up as aliens, that’s fine by us.”

Highlights of the Literary Festival are listed below. For more information on Hand and the festival, visit the web site at, or contact Crane-Laracuente at 316-942-4291, ext. 2226, or [email protected].

Thursday, April 9:
(Event at the Jabara Flexible Theatre, De Mattias Fine Arts Center)

7 p.m.

  • Elizabeth Hand: “‘Bellerophon,’ and the Science of Crypto Aviation” *

Friday, April 10:

(Events at Dugan-Gorges Conference Center)

1 p.m.

  • Kevin Rabas, “Layperson Science Writing: One Writer’s Way” **
  • Elizabeth Hand Master Class (Alumni Boardroom, 2nd floor Dugan Library) *

2 p.m.

  • Marguerite Reed Reading *

(Events at the Jabara Flexible Theatre, De Mattias Fine Arts Center)

3 p.m.

  • Science fiction poetry reading by Newman Professor of English Bryan Dietrich, Ph.D.*

4 p.m.

  • Roundtable science fiction discussion with Elizabeth Hand, Bryan Dietrich, Bo Bonner, and Sara Crow *

7 p.m.

  • “Time Traveler,” a play by Newman Director of Theatre Mark Mannette *

9 p.m.

  • Space Prom, party/music featuring The DeVeils **

Saturday, April 11

(Event at Dugan-Gorges Conference Center)

11 a.m.

  • Poetry reading by George Smith, Ph.D. (Newman University) and Dan Pohl (Hutchinson Community College) **

(Events at the Jabara Flexible Theatre, De Mattias Fine Arts Center)

3 p.m.

  • “Rereading Job: What an Ancient Poem Tells us about Suffering Today” by Newman Provost Michael Austin, Ph.D. **

9 p.m.

  • C.L. Smet, Director: “Time Stands Still,” a play by Donald Marguilies **


* Science-fiction themed events

** Other headlining speakers and presentations

All events are co-sponsored by KMUW and Eighth Day Books.

Watch Crane-Laracuente and Dietrich speaking on the Literary Festival below: