On Sunday, November 3, two senior English majors had the opportunity to read their creative writing at the Baltimore Book Festival. The reading was part of the annual University Writers’ Program, hosted each year by the Ivy Bookshop. This year, the event was held in the Columbus Center on Pier 6 in the Inner Harbor.
The Stevenson writers shared the stage with writers from University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Baltimore, Towson University, Goucher College, Loyola University, and Maryland Institute College of Art. The reading featured both undergraduate writers and graduate student writers pursuing MA and MFA programs in local programs.
Senior Audrey Diggs said that hearing from writers from other schools was a high point of the event for her. “It’s easy to connect with other writers on social media and read their work online, but nothing compares to hearing someone read their work with their own voice and inflections. It was clear during the readings that everyone put a lot of soul into their writing.” Diggs read four poems, “The Oak Forest,” “Bloom,” “Moon Girl,” and “Scrambled.” She noted, “I learned that reading to an audience makes poetry feel more interactive, like a dialogue. It felt like story-time during certain moments of my reading, and I was hyper-aware of the audience’s reactions.” As the Editor-in-Chief of The Greenspring Review from 2017-2019, Diggs organized and performed at open mics on Stevenson’s campus, but this was her most public performance yet.
For senior Morgan LaMonica, who is graduating in December, the event served in part to prepare her for her next steps as she leaves Stevenson next month. LaMonica read a short story, “Eternity’s Wish,” which is based on a concept for a future children’s book. (LaMonica just published her first children’s book, which you can read about here.) LaMonica found it “a wonderful experience to share my work with the world” beyond Stevenson: “People coming up to me afterwards and hearing how they enjoyed my work was such a wonderful feeling and a confidence booster for putting more of my writing out there into the world.” Upon graduation, LaMonica is pursuing her interest in youth literature through a career as a young adult or children’s librarian.
The University Writers’ Program takes place every fall and is one among many excellent, free offerings that undergraduate writers may take advantage of at the Book Festival.