Little Grassy Literary Festival showcases notable authors for 10th year

By Tyler Malone, Staff Writer

For the past ten years, the Little Grassy Literary Festival has brought notable published authors in fiction and poetry to southern Illinois.

This year the Literary Festival will host eight published authors April 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Morris Library in the Guyon Auditorium where they will share their works.

“The Little Grassy Literary Festival is a celebration of fiction writing and poetry,” Jacquelyn Zeng said, one of the Creative Writing Graduates who helped put together this year’s festival.


The authors attending the Festival will be visiting from all over the Midwest from Texas to Vermont and have a range of popularity including some who have master service agreements (MSAs), a contract between two parties that govern future agreements, Zeng said.

A notable guest attending the Little Grassy Literary Festival is Lee Martin, who was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize four years ago Zeng said.

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievement in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature, or musical composition and is one of the most highly prestigious and sought-after awards in writing.

“Our [other] guest authors this year will be fiction writers Rebecca Makkai and Aimee Hyndman, along with poets Brendan Galvin, Ruth Awad, Erin Elizabeth Smith and Kara van de Graaf,” Jeff Wolf said, another graduate student who helped put on this year’s festival.

Wolf said the festival is lucky to have accomplished writers attend this year.

The Festival will start off with a reading and a panel discussion between the authors and audience, followed by a Q&A with a focus on the craft of writing and getting published and a book signing, Zeng said.

“At Little Grassy, community members and students have a unique opportunity to meet the people behind the books, pick their brains, learn from them and be inspired by them,” Wolf said.


Award-winning author Rebecca Makkai, for example has several published works that won awards for best American short stories which have recently been put together in a story collection called Music for Wartime. 

Brendan Galvin, has won and received several awards and recognition for his writings. One of the most notable being a finalist in the National Book Award in 2005 for his book titled Habitat: New and Selected Poems 1965-2005.

Ruth Awad, is an award-winning poet whose collection Set to Music a Wildfire won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize.

Erin Elizabeth Smith, senior lecturer in the English department at the University of Tennessee is the author of two collections of poems The Fear of Being Found and The Naming of Strays.

Professor of English at Utah Valley University Kara van de Graaf, has published a collection of poems titled Spitting Image which had won the 2016 Crab Orchard First Book Prize in poetry.

Wolf said the festival provides an inspiring and moving experience by having community members and students meet the authors and discuss with them books and the craft of writing.

“To have the masters of this craft, is a really inspiring and moving experience, and is something that is great for creative writing people and is also great for people who are just looking for their own sense of enrichment and that is something that we could definitely use more of in this day and age,” Wolf said.

Staff writer Tyler Malone can be reached at [email protected].

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