Creative Writing Oxford Writes

Published on March 20th, 2016 | by Nature Humphries

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Oxford Writes: A New Group for Writers

Oxford Writes is a single-day writing event and the brainchild of Mississippi native and Oxford writer, Jeff Roberson.

While driving around the Square, Roberson was inspired by Oxford’s close relationship to writing and the long history of authors who have called it home. He began to envision an event that would bring together writers from all over to hone the craft that has long defined this town.

“We wanted to do this because Oxford is a place something like this can happen,” said Roberson. “The [registration] numbers are looking good. We’d like people to register by March 31.”

The event is set to take place on Saturday April 2, at The Orchard on Hwy 7, starting at 8:30 am with closing remarks at 4 pm followed by socializing at the City Grocery bar afterwards.

“It’s going to be free the first time,” said Roberson. “We want to use this as a chance to monitor interest and see what people like.”

Oxford Writes will feature a variety of workshops, including a fiction workshop with local author Julie Cantrell, who released her third novel, The Fathered Bone, this January.

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William Faulkner

“Oxford Writes is a concept that is long overdue for a community so rich in the literary arts,” said Cantrell. In her portion of the workshop, she plans to share some insights she picked up though publishing three novels in four years and “work through some hands-on projects that will hopefully ignite creative flow for attendees.”

Renowned Oxford writer and publisher Neil White will present the nonfiction segment of the workshop, focusing on techniques for writing creative nonfiction.

“Very simply that is telling a story [using] the techniques of fiction so that the story comes alive on the page for a reader [as though] they were reading a novel. It just happens to be a true story,” said White.

White also plans to focus on the process of revision. Very few writers are able to put down perfect sentences on the first try—the process can take days or even years for a work to achieve its finished form. White aims to illustrate this critical undertaking by showing “real life examples of poor first drafts, a series of revisions, and how they finally came out in printed form that was a perfect as the writer could make them.”

Another segment of the day will give attendees a choice of two workshops. The first option focuses on modern short form such as online writing, blogging, and social media with Adam Ganucheu, Wesley Bell, Slade Rand, and Dave Waddell. The other workshop leans towards more traditional approaches including feature writing, magazine writing, and sports writing with Ty Allushuski, Cindy Howle, John Wilbert, and the founder himself, Jeff Roberson.

Lunch will be provided, during which Pontotoc native and former Ole Miss quarterback Jim Weatherly will lead a Q&A session focusing on his craft of songwriting. Weatherly, who wrote “Midnight Train to Georgia,” among other hits, was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.

“We want to branch out eventually—test the waters, see what people like,” said Roberson. “We’d like to have a monthly get-together. There seems to be a lot of interest so far.”

The event is aimed at writers of all skill levels ages 18 and older. Anyone with an interest in writing should take advantage of this “interactive day of writing, listening, learning, and networking among other writers, bloggers, editors, authors, and publishers of all skill levels.” With the rich literary culture thriving in Oxford, this will be an excellent opportunity for wordsmiths to make important connections.

“One of the most important things for beginning writers is honest critical constructive critiques,” said White. “If you show it to your mother or your best friend they’re [going to tell you] it’s so great and [they] can’t wait to read it in a book. If you send it to an editor at a book publishing company they’re gonna rip you a new one.”

To register for the April 2 event, visit www.oxfordwrites.com, and fill out the online registration form. The event is open to the first 60 participants and spaces are filling up fast, so don’t miss this special, free opportunity.

“I hope this will be the first of many opportunities for writers to come together to celebrate the process of putting words to the page,” said Cantrell. The Local Voice Ligature

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About the Author

Nature Humphries is Editor-in-Chief of The Local Voice. Nature is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but moved to Oxford in 2004 after spending time in the United States Navy. She has also worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a server and a bartender. Nature graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in English and Modern Languages.



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