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English department holds creative writing festival

| Monday, November 15, 2021

Doug Abell | The Observer

The English department held their long-awaited Creative Writing Festival on Friday, Nov. 12. The festival, which included readings from Mustard, Notre Dame’s creative writing club, as well as Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) students, gave students the opportunity to learn more about various writing opportunities at Notre Dame. The opportunities introduced by the English department included writing for Mustard and working for the Notre Dame Review.

Mustard’s president, JP Spoonmore, called the club a great place to workshop writing pieces and said that meetings were “a magical place where [club members] work things out.” According to Spoonmore, meetings include three read-ins per week in, during which writers can receive feedback from the club members. This feedback typically includes what the other club members believe can be strengthened and puts an emphasis on the writing process. Mustard also helps writers understand both the purpose of the writer and the purpose of the text.

The process of writing is important; the groups present at the creative writing festival— Re:Visions and Notre Dame Review, in particular— reflected this purpose. Re:Visions is an undergraduate magazine filled with fiction, nonfiction and visual art. Every year, Re:Visions sets a theme, and you tailor your work to create a theme. In addition to providing the opportunity to submit your work yearly, Re:Visions also provides the opportunity to become a student editor. According to Jillian Fantin, a graduate student who is the Editor-in-Chief of Re:Visions, the magazine is a great place for students who are interested in art and literature.

The submission deadline for Re:Visions is February 28th, and submissions can be emailed to [email protected]. Notre Dame Review is an opportunity for students to get editorial experience, but instead of student work, the Review publishes the work of poets from around the world.

There seems to be quite a flourishing creative writing community at Notre Dame, even though the writing process is something that is typically viewed as being solitary. Perhaps, this should not be surprising: To Spoonmore, community is an important part of writing. Spoonmore says that a project that he has been working on for three years was originally inspired by something he heard from a fellow writer at a Mustard meeting. Further, Spoonmore said his experience knowing upperclassmen at Mustard was what inspired him to become president.

Spoonmore was especially thrilled with the creative writing festival. He says that he loves seeing the Mustard writers read live because of the excitement they exhibit both during the process and upon seeing the audience’s reaction to their work. The creative writing festival is Mustard’s key event every year, and gives writers a great opportunity to showcase their work.

The best part is that Mustard is open to everyone, regardless of major. Spoonmore himself is even a film major and likes to focus on writing with very cinematic and concrete imagery, each writer comes a distinct writing style, a fact made manifest by the selections shared at the festival. As a result of writers’ different styles, festival attendees experience a wide range of content, and this variety reveals a central theme: There is no standard for creative writing. Instead, creative writing means different things to different people. That difference, at least in part, constitutes the beauty of the art form.

Students interested in joining Mustard can reach out to [email protected] in order to be added to the mailing list. Mustard’s weekly meetings take place on Wednesday at 9:30 at McNeill Room, which is located in LaFortune Student Center.

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