Nationally acclaimed writers coming to UNF as part of Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival

Danae Leake

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UNF students have the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most well-established authors in the nation Saturday, possibly free of charge. At the third Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival on March 8 at UNF, 17 different types of writers from around the world will flood the Student Union and share their expertise.

Tickets are limited. According to Mark Ari, a UNF creative writing professor, there will be approximately 30-40 free tickets at the door available to UNF students, not including the free tickets already handed out. For the evening and book signing with Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Ford, the first 100 students at the door will get in free.

The festival will begin with an opening sampler, where a panel of authors will share their works. The panel is meant to give attendees an idea of which workshops they want to attend and introduce them to a variety of writing styles. Following this will be two morning workshop sessions led by the artists. Since all 17 artists will have their workshops simultaneously, attendees will have to choose which workshops to attend.

There will also be workshop break-out sessions and readings all day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will end with an evening and book signing by Pulitzer prize-winning author Richard Ford.

Liz Flaisig, a teacher and the chair of Creative Writing at Douglas Anderson High School, said the festival has a dynamic group of writers. She is looking forward to Ford, the festival’s headliner, and praised his characterization techniques. Flaisig encourages students and adult writers to attend this event. “It’s a great opportunity to see a Pulitzer Prize-winning author,” she said.

Other artists include poet Patricia Smith, fiction writer Rick Moody, fiction writer and editor Elissa Schappell, playwright Kathryn Walat, journalist Eve Samples, and songwriter Brad Lauretti.

Ari will also be at the festival as an artist and will teach a workshop titled “The Spirit of the Forms,” focusing on the tools humans use to work in their field. He said these tools can become tyrants, and fear of breaking the rules prevents the writer from forging new ground. Ari said he wants his attendees to explore beyond the limits of what they think they can do.

Flaisig said UNF is a perfect fit for the occasion because of its beauty and the staff’s friendliness. This is the second time the festival will be held at UNF. The first time was in 2012.

Tickets can be purchased through the festival’s website. Student ticket prices are $35 and community writer ticket prices are $70.

Email Danae Leake at [email protected]