On Oct. 20, Associate Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente, Ph.D., and her husband, Sonny, spent their Saturday traveling with a group of six students to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the “Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers.”
According to its website, “Nimrod” is an international journal for prose and poetry writing founded by the University of Tulsa as a way to discover, develop and promote new writing.
This year’s conference featured panels and discussions that ranged from finding time and balance in writing, strategies for revision, strong character and world building, using emotions bravely as well as work-shopping with different genres in the writing world.
Sophomore student Murphy Obershaw particularly enjoyed the excursion to Tulsa.
“It was cool getting to learn from people who have their works published,” she said. “They all seemed pretty down-to-earth and ready to answer whatever questions people had for them. ‘Nimrod’ was not a conference for only English scholars, but anyone who has an interest in writing or loves reading, which was interesting to me.”
During the conference luncheon, winners of the 2018 poetry and prose awards read aloud from their works — all of which are published in the most recent “Nimrod” journal, titled “Awards 40.”
Students who submitted poetry, short stories, plays or other prose in advance also had the opportunity to meet for one-on-one editing sessions with featured writers or participate in a novel pitch. Juniors Nathan Yeager and Elizabeth Urban were two students who took on the challenge of submitting work to be critiqued.
Before officially heading back on the road to Wichita, the group walked around downtown Tulsa and even stopped at a local bookstore. They then enjoyed a pizza dinner at a restaurant nearby, complete with a few slices of hazelnut chocolate and mint chocolate chip cheesecake.
“The English department is like a little family,” Obershaw said. “Getting to spend time with some of the people who are studying English at the conference and afterward at dinner was really fun.
“We were able to get to know each other more, joke around and make plans to hang out in the future. How many (collegiate) departments get to say that they are able to bond with each other over dramatic readings of a picture book in a van? Not many.”