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Oklahoma City University Creative Writing Festival

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Writing conferences can be expensive, and some of the ones I’ve attended have certainly not been worth the money.  However, that’s not the case with the Oklahoma City University Creative Writing Festival.   The festival is completely free to everyone, which is great if you’re in OKC and enjoy writing.  It will be held on April 16, 2011.

What does the festival focus on?  According to the director, Dr. Danita Berg, this year’s festival will have guest speakers discussing both how to write and the business of writing and publishing.  To that end, two of the guest speakers are publishers.  Dorothy Alexander of Village Books Press and Jeanetta Calhoun Mish of Mongrel Empire Press will be talking about how they select what books to publish. 

Speakers will also include Lou Berney, who has written a number of screenplays and television pilot scripts.  He has published a collection of short stories and a novel.  Gwendolyn Hooks has written eleven books for children, and she talk about writing children’s books and breaking into that market.  Berg herself will also be hosting a workshop on editing your own writing.  Finally, OCU professor Abigail Keegan will coordinate an open mic reading session for anyone who wants to share their own writing. 

In addition to an entire day of workshops, OCU is holding a writing contest in conjunction with the festival.  There are several different contests, actually.  There’s one for high school students.  Winners will receive $1,000 or $500 scholarships to OCU, which is really nice for anyone looking at that expensive OCU tuition.  OCU students who are not in the new OCU MFA program can submit stories to compete for OCU bookstore gift certificates.  Prospective OCU MFA students have a chance at one of five $1,000 scholarships.

Most of us, however, will be interested in the community writing contest.  You can submit a work of fiction, non-fiction, or play of 3,000 words or less or a poem of 1,000 words or less.  The winner will receive $100 and the runner-up will receive $50.  Submissions must be postmarked by March 15.  More information can be found at

If you enjoy writing or want to know more about the publishing industry, you should attend the festival.  It’s free, after all, and it’s a good opportunity to learn about writing and to meet some great writers.

Other blogs on the festival and on writing:

The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog talks about the OCU MFA program and the scholarships available.

The NewPages Blog also talks about the festival and MFA program.

The Oklahoma Writers & Authors blog has a lot of good information on writing in Oklahoma.

Tags: Events · Only in OKC       

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jeanetta Calhoun Mish // Mar 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    On Thursday, April 14 at 5:30 pm, a pre-Festival reading opens the OCU writing festival this year. Authors will be reading their contributions to Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing (Mongrel Empire Press, 2010). The reading will be held at the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center at N.W. 27th Street and Florida Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK

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