The University of Indianapolis has hosted a biannual creative writing reading in recent years that offers creative writing students and other majors the opportunity to come together and read original works publicly. Each speaker is given about seven minutes to read their work, according to senior double professional and creative writing major Shauna Sartoris.
Sartoris said that this year the university is partnering with IUPUI, so the venue of the reading has changed to the Damenverein Room of the Athenaeum on Michigan St. According to Sartoris, this gives the participants an opportunity to share their work with a new audience and hear work from students they do not often come into contact with .
“It’s always really rewarding to share your work with others and to hear others in the process,” Sartoris said. “I think it’s really rewarding to be able to see what other people are doing and especially people that are your own age and your own, sort of, discipline or area of the world, just seeing what everyone comes up with. I also really like the idea of bringing these schools together […] I think there’s a lot that can come from collaboration like this, even if it’s just hearing what other people are doing and celebrating that with them.”
Assistant Professor of English Rebecca McKanna said that she is also looking forward to the community that could be formed by two universities sharing the event and open up the possibility for more collaborations between the universities.
“Indianapolis is a big city, and so we don’t always have a literary community between the schools,” McKanna said. “I’m excited for it to be more of a community, and hopefully this will be the beginning of something where we do more of these things.”
Students will read poems and short stories about a variety of topics. Senior creative writing major Brooklyn Raines said she chose poems that focus on motherhood, mental health, sexuality and the intersectionality of being both black and a woman. Sartoris said she may choose works that talk about her time growing up in Kenya.
This event also gives the students who are participating in the opportunity to work on their public speaking skills, according to junior creative writing major Jessica Marvel.
“I kind of hope to gain […] more experience reading in general,” Marvel said. “Because I don’t do it a lot, I’m partially terrified of getting up in front of people, and I don’t like public speaking all that much. But I know eventually I want to get better at it, to the point where I’m not nervous, and I feel like this will kind of help.”
However, this reading is not just beneficial to those reading, there is also an intended goal for the audience, according to Raines. She said she hopes that the audience attends this reading with an open mind and leaves inspired by the work that is read.
“[I hope the audience gains] an appreciation for the arts because I feel like a lot of times people forget how important they are,” Raines said. “[…] Just seeing the value in it, and also seeing [that] you don’t have to be studying, or wanting to be writer to do this, anyone can, if you take the time and have an appreciation for writing you can do it as well.”
Sartoris said that she hopes to see other students come out to this event and share their thoughts about the work that is read so that the readers can improve on their work from this event. The reading is set to take place at IUPUI on April 25 at 7 p.m, and both IUPUI and UIndy students are set to share their work