University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

ARCHIVE: UMHB Hosts Writer’s Festival

January 20, 2014
Bestselling author Bret Lott will be in attendance for UMHB's Writers' Festival
Bestselling author Bret Lott will be in attendance for UMHB's Writers' Festival

Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor literary journal, Windhover, will host its Writers’ Festival from Wednesday, February 5, to Friday, February 7, in the Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center on the UMHB campus. This annual event is free and open to the public.

This year’s festival includes presentations and workshops by notable authors and poets, including Bret Lott, Gina Ochsner, and Benjamin Myers.

Lott is the bestselling author of fourteen books, most recently the nonfiction collection Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian and the novel Dead Low Tide. His novel Jewel was an Oprah Book Club pick. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The New York Times, The Georgia Review, and dozens of anthologies.

His honors include being named Fulbright Senior American Scholar and writer-in-residence to Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel; speaking on Flannery O’Connor at The White House; and having served as a member of the National Council on the Arts from 2006 to 2012. He and his wife, Melanie, live in Hanahan, South Carolina.

Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, Oregon, and teaches with Seattle Pacific’s Low Residency MFA program and at Corban University.  She is the author of the short-story collections The Necessary Grace to Fall and People I Wanted to Be, as well as the novel The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, which was long-listed for the Orange Award.  She is currently working on a new novel set in eastern Latvia.

Benjamin Myers’ latest book is Lapse Americana. He won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry for his first book, Elegy for Trains. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Christianity and Literature, Tar River Poetry, Rock and Sling, Nimrod, Measure, Devil’s Lake, and The New York Quarterly. His essays on poetics have appeared in several prominent academic journals, and he frequently reviews contemporary poetry and books on poetics for World Literature Today.

Micah Bloom is an artist whose paintings were featured in the 2013 edition of Windhover. He has been selected for numerous artist-in-residence fellowships and has published his work in literary and art journals. He has shown his work internationally, from private galleries in China to the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art.  For the past two years he has been working on a multi-media project focused on flood-ravaged books.  This work, titled Codex, combines film, photography, and installation art. It explores themes of necessity, obsolescence, privilege, digital migration, loss, and valediction.  Codex will be screened at the festival.

Registration is free and is only required for those interested in participating in workshops or the closing lunch.

For more information about the Writers’ Festival, visit the event’s website:


Schedule of Events

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2:00                        Check-in opens (Manning Chapel lobby)

3:00                        UMHB Creative Writing Showcase (Manning Chapel)

                                                                Kelsey Belcher

                                                                Renee Doty

                                                                Marnie Cannon

4:00-5:15              Panel I: Fiction (Manning Chapel)

                                                              Arna Bontemps Hemenway

                                                              Faith Forester

                                                              Philip Cioffari

6:30                        Windhover Dessert Reception & Release (Manning Chapel)

7:30                        Benjamin Myers’ Poetry Reading (Manning Chapel)

8:30                        Open Mic Reading (Moon building)


Thursday, February 6, 2014

 8:00                       Check-in table opens (Moon building)

 8:30-9:45             Panel II—Concurrent (Moon building)

                                Panel A: Poetry & Prose

                                                                Joe R. Christopher

                                                                Jeremy Larson

                                                                Aaron Brown

                                Panel B: Poetry

                                                                Nathaniel A. Schmidt

                                                                Margie Roe

                                                                R. W. Haynes



10:15-11:45         Bret Lott’s Creative Nonfiction Workshop* (Moon building)

1:00-2:30              Gina Ochsner’s Short Fiction Workshop* (Moon building)

3:00-4:15              Panel III—Concurrent (Moon building)

                                Panel A: Prose

                                                                Donna Walker-Nixon

                                                                Austin Fischer

                                                                Chris Boldt

                                Panel B: Poetry

                                                                Brady Peterson

                                                                Bob Moreland

                                                                Rhonda Martin

                                                                Megan Willome

4:30                        Gina Ochsner’s Fiction Reading (Manning Chapel) 

7:00                        Bret Lott’s Reading (presenter of “George Nixon Memorial Lecture”) (Manning Chapel)

8:00                        Screening of Codex (40-min.) and Q&A with director Micah Bloom (Manning Chapel)


Friday, February 7, 2014

8:00                        Check-in table opens (Moon building)

8:30-10:00           Benjamin Myers’ Poetry Workshop* (Moon building)

10:15-11:45         Micah Bloom’s Visual Storytelling Workshop* (Moon building)

12:00                     Closing lunch* (Moon building) ($10, payable at check-in table)

* denotes conference registration required