October 19, 2012
CEDAR HILL, Texas - Northwood students filled 15 big tables and stood along the walls to hear the novelists and poets read at the 10th annual Northwood Literary Festival held at the Cedar Hill campus on October 16. Everyone ate blackberry cobbler and ice cream and chugged cans of root beer as they applauded the readers.
Headliners in the popular event included Dallas attorney-turned-writer Ben Fountain, one of five 2012 National Book Award finalists, for his latest novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, about a young war hero honored at a Dallas Cowboys game. A nationally recognized novelist and essayist, Fountain’s short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevra, won the Hemingway/PEN Award for distinguished first book of fiction. Author Malcolm Gladwell called Fountain a “late-blooming genius” in his New Yorker essay on Fountain’s work. He read from his new book which received glowing reviews in The Wall Street Journal and other national media.
Novelist and University of Texas at Dallas Professor Matthew Bondurant read from his latest novel, The Night Swimmer, drawing from his own lifelong love of competitive swimming. This writer actually swam around Alcatraz! Bondurant has written three critically acclaimed novels including a work based on his great grandfather’s life as a bootlegger in Virginia, on which the current hit film Lawless is based.
Playwright, poet and Ochre House Theater set designer and actor Justin Lochlear enthralled students with his description of the process of launching new plays that use live actors and life-size Bunraku puppets. He brought along three huge puppets and demonstrated how they are manipulated and interface with live actors.
Closing out the LitFest were three nationally recognized performance poets, including Rockbaby, Rage Almighty and Twain. Rockbaby, coach of the Dallas Slam Poetry team, returned for his fifth appearance at Northwood closing LitFest 2012 with great comic timing and moving homeboy poems.
LitFest Chairman and Professor Martha Heimberg said she was happy with the turnout and good spirits. She commented, “Students may come for pie and ice cream but many of them get turned on to the work of these terrific writers–and that’s what we’re here for.”
The winners are:
First Place: Joe Stamper
Second Place: Amy Ducote
Honorable Mention: Hilary Huhn
First Place: Ecelia Ramirez
Second Place: Alyssa Gapinski
Honorable Mention: Getzabel Serrano Florido
Poetry: Contestants submitted up to three poems–winning poem is listed
First Place: Natasha Norman for “El Paso Haiku”
Second Place: Daniel Stoakes for “Island Bracelet”
Honorable Mention: Malissa Crouch for “We’re Knotted Like A Tracery”