Reading brings senior writers to the podium
Fourteen of the English Department’s senior writing students read pieces from their repertoires to celebrate the culmination of their college careers on Tuesday in Penn Hall Lyceum. Due to the large number of students graduating with writing majors, minors, and concentrations, 55 to be exact, the department opened the senior reading to volunteers.
This year the students who stepped up to the podium to read their work were: Rachel Wynn, Tommy Bender, Mallory Beck, Austin Clark, Loren Deron, Kerri Dinneny, Abigail Kallin, Connor Lawless, Morgan Marzella, Drew Roy, Elizabeth Ruby, Benjamin Schell, Karl Utermohlen and Molly Yingling.
While the reading was dominated by short fiction pieces, Rachel Wynn and Mallory Beck chose to read from longer works in progress. Wynn’s novel in progress, Sweet Sadie, tells the tale of a young doctor who murders her new husband, to the dismay of her doting parents. Beck read from a memoir piece, and the sections she chose for the reading were playful depictions of memories from a child’s perspective.
Nonfiction was also well represented, with Molly Yingling’s piece about her father and Karl Utermohlen’s piece describing his struggle with cancer.
Poetry certainly isn’t a dying genre at Gettysburg College; Loren Deron, Kerri Dinneny, and Abigail Kallin, read poems ranging from the abstract to the poignant. Kallin’s poem was inspired by a class prompt, as were many of the pieces read by the student writers.
Students demonstrated a great deal of pride in pieces that they had written for writing courses and then subsequently reworked. Before reading his short fiction piece, Benjamin Schell joked, “A very famous critic once called this ‘flat’. I’ve worked on it and hopefully it’s not flat anymore,” playfully referring to the critiques of one of the writing professors.
Though several of the student authors had previously attended the English Department’s Senior Reception, several of the authors boasted majors in different disciplines. The group included representatives from the departments of Psychology, Political Science, Religious Studies and History as well. Some students will head out in search of other careers, but several are looking to pursue Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing immediately following graduation or in the near future
“I’m very excited to improve my writing and to use the skills I learned here at Gettysburg, especially from Professor Fred Leebron, and to continue to grow and develop as a writer,” said Tommy Bender, who plans to attend Temple University’s MFA program in the fall.