SSU Writers' Festival returns

Sonoma State is presenting its Writers’ Festival for the second year, happening on April 19 and 20, with key guests includeing authors Julia Carr, Anne Goldman, and Andrew Smith, among several various scholars. 

The writers are all selected amid what they write and their style of writing. The founders ensure the guests have a range of genders, ethnicities, ages and truly invite the strongest writers formed by their research. “Some medieval scholars will be attending, so will some guests pertaining to African American literature,” says Gillian Conoley, a co-founder and Creative Writer here at Sonoma State.

The reason behind this Writers’ Festival is to bring the writing society together and expand the writers all throughout the globe. “This event brings together the literary community, both on and off campus,” Conoley said. 

Writers who come to the event include poets and both non-fiction and fiction writers from Denver, Montana, and Philadelphia. The reason being is to provide a national scope, but also a regional and very local scope in terms of students.

Conoley and Stefan Kiesbye are the founders of the Sonoma State Writers’ Festival. The two of them came up with the idea to create a place for writers, both non-fiction and fiction, to be able to collaborate and share their work all in unison. 

Last year, the first year this event took place, was a huge success. Therefore, they decided to continue doing it and building it up while making it different every year. The ticket sales have gone up since last year as they have noticed the same people are coming back and new people are buying tickets as well.

With the Writers’ Festival comes many activities and speakers. The festival itself, all things considered, is extremely affordable, especially for college students. The tickets range in price, $50 for students that include all meals, activities, and receptions. Tickets are $75 for the general public. In order to attend one workshop, it is $25 without anything included.

Each night will have a different variety of meals and writers. Everyone will be in panels discussing narratives. Some who write in point of view, work in film, and even a producer and director will be in attendance. The theme is supposed to change every year, and therefore it is a loose theme this year.

“The scene is narrative, so it has exploded into all sorts of different forms and it is very interesting to discuss particular narratives,” said Conoley. The narratives have contrasting types from what it is like today versus the traditional kinds of narratives.

The benefits are limitless as to why a college should hold a Writers’ Festival. “Well first, they are really fun. For our students and locals, it puts people in touch with one another,” said Conoley. 

The writers are able to engage with each other since writing is a very solitary community. Writers need a place to put their work out in the world, so they are able to support each other in a countless different ways, which provides creativity as they work.