UNCW writing talents showcased

Gwendolyn Knapp 

Gwendolyn Knapp 

UNCW’s tenth annual Thirsty Tome event Tuesday night in Randall Library showcased the universities writing talents current and past.

The main reader for the event was UNCW graduate Gwendolyn Knapp. Knapp graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been featured in Crazy Horse and Quarterly West. At the event Knapp read from her latest work, a memoir titled “After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter.”

Knapp was introduced by UNCW Professor Clyde Edgerton, who has written 12 novels, had five New York Times Notable Book Awards, and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Like Knapp’s memoir, Edgerton’s stories are influenced by personal experiences.

Knapp began by reading from a chapter of her memoir that introduced the audience to her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.

During Knapp’s reading the audience laughed along with Knapp at her imitations of her mother and mother’s boyfriend as well as at her quips about hoarding used tissues in purses.

One quip that was well received was when Knapp’s mother’s boyfriend talks about his time at war and is quickly shutdown by Knapp’s mother so that “wounded, he disappeared for most of the war.”

After her reading, the event opened up into the question and answer portion, which was mediated by UNCW Associate Professor Robert Siegel.

One question that remerged frequently was the differences between her two jobs—K napp is also a food journalist and editor of Eater New Orleans. The audience got to discuss the difference between the two writing styles.

Knapp’s response was that writing about food in New Orleans is “more of a job” to her. Writing her memoir allowed her more freedom to express herself.

In the conversation with the audience, Knapp also revealed what her family thought of the memoir. Knapp said that her mother “had read it and was supportive, but my sister has not even read it yet.”

According to Knapp, regardless of whether they have read it yet, all of her family members were happy for and supportive of her.

Also during the event, current UNCW MFA Creative Writing students were given the opportunity to read some of their own work.

UNCW MFA student and reader Bethany Tap called the event “a partnership between Randall Library and the Creative Writing Department.” To Tap the event allows those studying creative writing the chance to write about and discuss topics of interest to them.

Some topics of interest from the works of writing were the foster care system, hoarding and disorderly families, and the treatment of military officials.

When asked about his own experience, UNCW MFA student and reader Michael Ramos said that, “…it was good (sharing our pieces). We are writers, we don’t write to keep it locked away. It’s good to get words we have crafted and express our art in an accepting academic setting. It’s a really great treat for us.”

The event is annual, meaning there will be another chance for future creative writing students to share their work alongside peers, professors, and successful graduates of the department.