Writers Week collaborates with “Ecotone”

Emma Tasharski | Contributing Writer

UNC Wilmington’s annual Writers Week returned on Nov. 3 and will continue through Nov. 7 in celebration of the literary world. The university’s award-winning literary magazine, “Ecotone,” has once again collaborated with the creative writing department to organize the week full of readings, panels, craft talks and more. Through these events, students, faculty and community members can meet visiting authors and editors who previously contributed to “Ecotone.”

David Gessner, the coordinator of this year’s Writers Week and a creative writing professor, founded “Ecotone” years ago. He touched on the highlights of the upcoming week.

“We’re lucky enough to have three writers with books coming out,” Gessner said.

For example, Kathryn Miles’ “Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy” was released last month. Miles is an award-winning journalist and author and will be an active participant in Writers Week. She performed this year’s keynote reading on Wed. night at 7 p.m. with poet Patrick Phillips. Phillips prepares to release “Elegy,”his third book of poetry, in 2015.

In addition, novelist Brock Clarke’s book, “The Happiest People on Earth,” released only two days ago on Nov. 4, just in time for his reading tonight at 7 p.m.

Friday evening’s Farm-to-Table Supper

This year’s Farm-to-Table Supper will close Writers Week with an impressive meal to celebrate the launch of “Ecotone” magazine’s Sustenance issue. The editor-in-chief, Anna Lena Phillips, and publisher, Emily Louis Smith, were the architects behind the event.

This theme sparked the magazine’s collaboration with Feast Down East, a non-profit program focused on the promotion of local food. Feast Down East will supply locally grown ingredients from their own farms for the dinner. The menu is comprised of dishes inspired by the Sustenance issue. Attendees can expect a warm multiple-course meal with homey dishes.

Randall Kenan, critically acclaimed author of four novels, and Allison Hawthorne Deming, poet and nonfiction writer, will read at the Farm-to-Table supper from pieces pertaining to sustenance.  

“Deming will read from her profound new book, ‘Zoologies,’” Gessner said.


Student involvement

UNCW creative writing students are also actively involved, as the university offers a Writers Week practicum class to help plan and coordinate events.

Kirby Snell is an MFA creative writing student enrolled in the class and spoke during the MFA reading on Nov. 5. She stresses the importance of Writers Week and the myriad opportunities it gives to students, faculty and visiting authors.  

“[Writers Week] highlights our connection to the national literary scene,” Snell said. “It boosts the value of the MFA and BFA programs, and it helps to bolster Wilmington as a destination that’s actively engaged in literary and cultural development.”  

A graduate teaching assistant in the creative writing department, Michael Ramos, also commented on the benefits of Writers Week for creative writing students. He enjoys the mentorship, the sharing of ideas and the support from established writers.

“I was glad to help out with Writers Week this year to give back to the creative community,” Ramos said.

Other UNCW students are also encouraged to attend events throughout Writers Week, since the panel discussions and readings have no entry fee and the only paid event is the Farm-to-Table Supper. A list of events and timings can be found on UNCW’s website.

“It’s going to be a vibrant week, full of writing, readings and topped off by a literary feast,” said Gessner.