Students read work at Creative Writing Festival

Nohr Gallery in Ullsvik was filled with students from across the University of Wisconsin-Platteville sharing their written work and free cheese. 

“The creative writing festival is an annual event that the Humanities Department hosts, and either Stormy Stipe or I directs it. For the festival we bring a visiting writer to campus, and we like to bring a writer who we feel can speak to our students and energize their work,” associate professor of English Kara Candito said.

 The 12th annual Creative Writing Festival was organized by Dr. Stormy Stipe, who brought in guest speaker and contest judge Yasmin Boakye.

“It’s always very exciting to have students read their work,” Dr. Stormy Stipe said.

In the month leading up to the festival any student at UW-Platteville had the chance to submit either a work of fiction, a creative non-fiction essay or a selection of poetry for the judges of the event to curate and select winners from. 

“We have outside judges choose poems, stories and creative non-fiction pieces, and the winners are featured readers at the creative writing festival. We had three winners for poetry, three for fiction and three for creative non-fiction. It’s an exciting opportunity for students to share their work and a good experience for them to get practice reading in front of a crowd,” Candito said.

Some of the student readers had been working on their written pieces for weeks or months, and this festival was their chance to share the fruits of their labor. The first-place winners included Zheniya Fager, who won first place for her poem “coffin sprouts”; Tim Stockton, who won first place for his creative non-fiction essay “Boots: A Little Red Car”; and Clara Simonson, who won first place in fiction for her short story “System Failure.”

“I was really impressed by the sophistication of the poems submitted this year. They were extremely mature and daring and they demonstrated a level of engagement that makes poetry successful. I’m always impressed by the fiction and creative non-fiction,” Candito said.

The final judge of the festivals winners in fiction and non-fiction was guest speaker Yasmin Boakye, author of published essays such as “Darkness” and “American Story.” KC Trommer, author of the award-winning “We Call Them Beautiful,” judged poetry.

“Yasmin was incredibly generous and warm,” Candito said. “There was a mood of support and care in the audience and with the readers. This year it was wonderful to have someone who is a graduate student be the special guest because she can help students who are thinking about going on to creative writing programs.”