Young Writers Conference helps high school writers improve skills

Young Writers Conference helps high school writers improve skills

The Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages held its annual day-long Young Writers Conference on Nov. 14.

The conference was open to all students in high school, and offered a series of workshops taught by members of the UTM faculty. Twelve workshop sessions were offered, with topics ranging from writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction to song writing, literary and film analysis to writing resumes and letters of application. A special workshop focusing on creating and maintaining a student writing club was also offered during the event.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Leslie LaChance, an associate professor at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. LaChance taught English at UTM from 2002 to May 2014.

The first workshops began at 9 a.m. and gave the students the opportunity to learn and write. As the sessions went on, students were able to create pieces, expand their understanding of a topic, and share their works with other students in the same sessions.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Western Tennessee and Kentucky high school students to learn from UTM faculty, and have a chance to practice their writing craft,” said Dr. John Glass, UTM associate professor of English. “We hope they take back a really good experience to their own schools from their day at UTM.”

Members of the English Department who presented included Glass, Dr. David Carithers, Dr. Chris Hill, Dr. Trisha Capansky, Misty Dunlap, Dr. Lynn Alexander, Anna Clark, Dr. Heidi Huse and Jenna Wright. Assistants to the conference were Writing Center employees Cody Jarman, Samantha Mobley and Mary Lou McCaslin.

Admissions Counselor Trevor Smith discussed different activities offered for students on campus. This is the first year that a representative from the Admissions Office has made an appearance. Cody Jarman then discussed BeanSwitch, UTM’s annual literary and visual arts magazine.

During her address, LaChance praised the young writers for their creativity, as well as connecting back to her roots at UTM. She read poetry from her publications and shared stories of how she draws inspiration for her work.

“It will always feel like home,” LaChance said. “It’s wonderful to reconnect with colleagues, friends, and UTM students.”

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