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Saint Mary’s first National Literary Festival to bring together students and bestselling authors

and | Friday, November 8, 2019

Saint Mary’s will hold its first annual National Literary Festival on Friday and Saturday. Hosted by bestselling author and alumna Adriana Trigiani (’81), the event will feature an additional 10 authors across numerous genres.

A dinner and meet and greet with the authors will take place in the Noble Family Dining Hall on Friday, with Trigiani introducing each author at 6 p.m. The dinner is open to all students with a Saint Mary’s meal plan.

“The authors will initially be seated at tables with their faculty/staff hosts and student hosts, but this event is very informal, so it’s expected that students will feel free to go from table to table talking to the authors,” English department chair Laura Haigwood said in an email.

Saturday’s programming will begin with registration at 11:30 a.m., followed by a ticketed lunch in the Angela Athletic Facility Fieldhouse.

“From 2:15 to 3:15 [p.m.], the gym will be open to anyone who wants to buy books and have them signed by the authors, whether or not they bought a ticket to the luncheon,” Haigwood said in the email. “This includes students, of course, but also the general public.”

Students from the tri-campus community signed up to volunteer as hosts for the visiting authors. Their duties will include escorting their assigned authors between event locations and making them feel welcome on campus.

Saint Mary’s junior Sarah Catherine Caldwell will be a student host for Trigiani and deliver an invocation before Saturday’s events begin.

“I’m just excited to be around such an amazing writer … and an alumna who is successful in writing and willing to come back to Saint Mary’s and share that with the community,” Caldwell said.

Other authors set for attendance include Saint Mary’s alumna Anna Monardo (’77), Julie Klam and Val Emmich, who wrote “Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel.” A full list of authors in attendance can be found on the event’s webpage.

Julie Klam, author of titles including “The Stars in Our Eyes,” said she looks forward to attending the festival.

“I feel like any time there is an opportunity to bring new books and authors and discussions about literature to interested people, it is a wonderful thing,” Klam said. “I’ve never been to Indiana. I’m looking forward to meeting people and seeing South Bend and possibly bumping into Mayor Pete and Chasten.”

Another featured author, Susan Fales-Hill, said she is also eager to attend the event, not only for the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, but to also share her experiences with the next generation of writers.

“I’m looking forward to convening with an extraordinary and diverse group of authors who are united in their love for the written word, and their firm belief in the power of story telling,” Fales-Hill said in an email. “At my stage of life, it’s also a delight and highly illuminating to interface with young people. This generation faces many challenges, most of them not of their making, as an ‘elder,’ I want to do my part to help them before I leave this earthly plane.”

According to the event’s web page, proceeds from the literary festival will support future literary events at the College.

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