Special Collections & Archives and the ZSR Library hosted the Sam Gladding Writing Experience from Monday, January 29, through Friday, February 2, 2024. This event brought scholar(s)/writer(s) in residence to campus and facilitated interactions between the writer(s) and students, staff, and faculty. The event culminated with a Friday night event for students, giving them the opportunity to publish the work they created during this experience. The Experience included a wide variety of authors and poets who spoke at public events and to WFU/WSSU classes.

Highlights from the Week!

Sunday Night Dinner

On Sunday evening, Dr. Zelda Lockhart, after presenting at the Bookmarks Moveable Feast, had dinner with three senior English majors, Asya Taylor, Kat Tomsuck, Frances Gray Riggs, in addition to Associate Dean Dr. Erica Still and Tanya Zanish-Belcher. The conversation was wide-ranging and everyone at the table had questions for Zelda about her career and writing practices. This opportunity gave WF students with an interest in writing and literature access to a successful writer, mentor, and artist, to share about themselves and their experiences, and to learn from her.

Monday – Intercultural Center and Women’s Center – Dr. Lockhart

On Monday, the Intercultural Center and Women’s Center co-hosted a lunch in the Intercultural Center with students, staff/faculty.

Monday Night Keynote – Dr. Lockhart at the Byrum Center

On Monday night, Dr. Lockhart gave a keynote address for the Sam Gladding Writing Experience in Kulynych Auditorium in the Byrum Welcome Center. Dr. Lockhart took center stage to share her latest literary masterpiece, “Trinity,” a novel that has been described as nothing short of phenomenal. “Trinity” delves deep into the intricate and poignant themes of trauma and violence, examining their profound effects across three generations of a family. Dr. Lockhart’s presentation was not just a lecture but rather an immersive, interactive experience that captivated her audience from beginning to end. Through her innovative approach, she not only shared the essence of her novel but also fostered an environment ripe for dialogue and reflection, encouraging participants to engage in meaningful discussions that continued well beyond the confines of the event.

Tuesday – Dr. Lockhart at WSSU

One of the best parts about Zelda’s visit was the opportunity to collaborate with Winston-Salem State University C.G. O’Kelly Library Director Wanda Brown and WSSU Archivist Tom Flynn assisted in organizing her visits to classes in Literary Criticism and Thinking and Writing Critically about Literature. Zelda answered questions from the students and was able to share about her work with the Her Story Garden Studios: Inspiring Black Women to Self-Define, Heal, and Liberate Through Our Stories & Nature.

Wednesday – Amy Cantanzano

Professor Amy Cantanzano has long been working at the intersection of poetry and physics. Drawing from invited residencies and site visits to scientific research centers such as CERN, and as the lead co-founder of The Entanglements Network—an international collective of transdisciplinary writers, scientists, artists, and scholars—Catanzano collaborates with scientists in addition to her independent projects. During this Wednesday presentation, Prof. Cantanzano discussed her independent poetry projects as well as her collaborations with scientists that explore some of the most cutting-edge physics and technologies of our time such as high-energy particle colliders, dark energy astrophysics, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. There were numerous questions from all over the country and the world!

Thursday – Abrea Armstrong and Joseph Bathanti

On Thursday afternoon, on-site visitors had the opportunity to hear from two very different poets and artists, Abrea Armstrong and Professor Joseph Bathanti. Their discussion was wide-ranging (and the entire conversation recorded), responding to questions provided by Prof. Amy Cantanzano, and other questions posed by the students in her Contemporary Poetry class.

Friday – Writers’ Camp @ ZSR

The weeklong Sam Gladding Writing Experience ended with the “Writers’ Camp at ZSR” on Friday, February 2nd, from 4 pm to 9 pm, after a 4-year hiatus. Nineteen students applied and were accepted into the program in the Fall of 2023, and seventeen of those students were able to attend the event in February.

After a rousing opening keynote by the Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Ryan Shirey, students spent two hours writing in their favorite spot in ZSR! At 6 pm, we convened for dinner and words of encouragement from Allison Mcwilliams from the Office of Personal and Career Development! It was wonderful to give these students time to meet each other and share experiences over a meal. The event concluded at 9 pm, but students had the opportunity to keep writing for two more weeks before the Library began preparing the works for publication in our fourth volume of “Famous First Words: ZSR Writers’ Camp 2024! Special thanks to Tanya Zanish Belcher, Meghan Webb, Carolyn McCallum, Mary Beth Lock, Daisha Bunn, and Maddie Koontz for working this evening event! We will celebrate the publication of this volume in April with a book launch event in Special Collections and Archives, where each author will sign a copy of the book to be housed in Special Collections.

Next Year, 2024-2025

We are already planning the schedule for our 2024-2025 Sam Gladding Writing Experience with Book Artist-in-Residence Sauda Mitchell. Sauda, who is affiliated with the Sawtooth School for Visual Art is an archivist and artist, and recently completed a collaboration with Ohio University (Athens, OH). She will be working with SCA to give workshops and will create a unique artist’s book related to our Dr. Maya Angelou collection. We will send out programming information by the summer, and if you are interested in learning more, please contact Tanya Zanish-Belcher.