On Directing a Writing Conference

In my position as an assistant professor of English, I have the privilege of directing the Windhover Writers’ Festival. I already serve as editor of Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature, and the festival is an extension of the journal, a festival held every February at my school: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

This is my second year at the helm of the festival, and my third year editing Windhover. The festival is a time-consuming responsibility that involves a year of planning before the intense three days of the actual festival. I enjoy serving as director for many reasons, but I’ll list just five here:

1) Bringing great writers to the campus to give readings and lead workshops. It’s a treat to read the works of talented writers and then meet them in person.

2) Seeing my vision for the festival become a reality. It’s one thing to edit a journal and bring together different voices in print, and it’s another to bring together different voices and hear them read aloud.

3) Watching my students interact with the festival attendees and featured writers. It’s special to read students’ responses, to hear their reactions, to participating in such an event.

4) Meeting the festival attendees, some who have attended for years, others who are attending for the first time. It’s exciting to meet new folks just as it is encouraging to see the familiar faces.

5) Experiencing an event wherein both writing and faith are taken seriously. It’s stating the obvious, but I’d say there are not many places where this occurs.

And even as I’m processing those intensely joyful three days, I’m already thinking ahead to next year, making plans.

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