UPIKE English Club students attend Southern Literary Festival at University of Mississippi

The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) English Club was pleased to send six students to the prestigious Southern Literary Festival, held at the University of Mississippi campus last April. This marked the first time a Kentucky university was represented at the event. 

The Southern Literary Festival, now in its 85th year, was founded by the renowned Kentucky-born author Robert Penn Warren. Dedicated to nurturing undergraduate writers, the festival provides invaluable opportunities for students to learn from established professional authors and immerse themselves in the literary world.

During the festival, UPIKE students engaged in various workshops covering topics such as fiction writing, novel marketing strategies and podcast production techniques. They also had the privilege of listening to readings and discussions by nationally recognized authors, including New York Times bestseller Téa Obreht and National Book Award finalist Andre Dubus III. In addition to festival events, the students also had the chance to tour Rowan Oak, the historic home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.

Funding for this enriching experience was made possible through contributions from the English Club, UPIKE’s Humanities Division, and the Experiential Learning Program, which actively supports students seeking off-campus learning opportunities. The trip was organized and led by English faculty members Cody D. Jarman, Ph.D., and Beth Topping, Ph.D.

Reflecting on the festival, Jarman emphasized its significance in the college experience, helping students to discover more about themselves. 

“Opportunities like this trip really are the core of the college experience,” said Jarman. “Bonding with your classmates, being exposed to new perspectives and new places, all these things are key to understanding yourself as a student, a writer, and, really, as a person.”

English education major and English Club officer Halley Winstead found the trip to be a great experience and gained valuable insights into the writing process. 

“I learned how different writers plan out their work and how they think about writing,” said Winstead. “I recommend the festival to any student who likes writing or even just reading. You will have a blast with all the activities, and also you will learn a lot!”

Please visit upike.edu for more information about UPIKE.