Fiction writer and poet Kory Shrum, poet and publisher Stephanie Bryant Anderson and nonfiction writer Heather Donahoe read original works for students and staff at an alumni reading on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
English Professor Barry Kitterman, who was in charge of the event, said he was thrilled to have writers share their work and knowledge with students and the APSU community. Kitterman said it makes him and the English Department proud to hear former students have made accomplishments with their writing.
Shrum read a chapter from her first book “Dying for a Living.” Anderson read 10 poems and talked about her publishing company Red Paint Hill Publishing. Last, Donahoe read the introduction from her book “The Southern Food Truck Cookbook.”
Shrum’s advice for those who wish to pursue writing is to write something every day.
“Some days, you would rather pour hot coffee on yourself than do so, but sit down and write anyway,” Shrum said. “No matter how hard you think it is, it will be so much harder if you let those writer muscles atrophy and then try to write. Also, have fun. If you aren’t having fun, it’s almost guaranteed your readers won’t have fun, either.”
Regarding her accomplishments as a writer, Shrum said what she’s done so far is only the beginning. She is about to publish her third book and has several projects outside of the “Dying” series in the works.
Anderson encouraged those who wish to pursue writing to read and listen to the advice of others and not let egos get in the way of objectivity. She said it is important for writers to surround themselves with supportive people who motivate them.
Anderson said she feels like she is coming into her own as a writer, specifically as a poet.
“My debut poetry collection “Monozygotic | Co-dependent” will be published by The Blue Hour Press in late spring; it is a total of about 35 poems,” Anderson said. “The poems are the telling of my life with my twin sister, though not as a storyline, rather the effects that being the ‘submissive’ twin has had on my life as an adult. My goal as a poet is to continue growing, and my accomplishments have served to encourage that.”
Donahoe said she is grateful for her accomplishments as a writer. She said writing a book was an unexpected opportunity for her. According to Donahoe, her career, including time as a newspaper reporter, has afforded her remarkable experiences.
Donahoe advised those who want to pursue writing to accept and invite feedback, saying there is nearly always something useful to take away from it.