Poet Ashley M. Jones talks about winning SCCC’s First Book Visiting Writer Award

Poet Ashley M. Jones was one of  three award-winning authors to headline the undergraduate conference that brought the 2018 Creative Writing Festival at Suffolk County Community College to a close on the Ammerman campus Friday.

She spoke with Suffolk Sentinel about the experience in the podcast above.

The five-day Creative Writing Festival brought together professional writers, teachers and students from SCCC and other colleges across the area to celebrate creative writing.

Friday’s conference day, which was full of workshops, panel discussions, readings from speakers and a ceremony for the Creative Writing Awards for College Writers, had more than 100 attendees.

Jones, winner of the First Book Award for her debut poetry collection “Magic City Gospel,” told the crowd to “keep supporting writing. Make sure writing events keep happening, because people need that outlet to express themselves and understand themselves. It’s just very important.”

Sue Halpern, winner of this year’s inaugural Lawrence J. Epstein Award, read excerpts from her novel “Summer Hours at the Robbers Library.” The award, along with the inaugural SCCC First Book Visiting Writer Award, was intended to bring attention to emerging authors from beyond Long Island, according to the SCCC Creative Writing Festival Committee.

“I hope that students who are interested in writing and in reading will have those interests magnified and maybe be inspired to do more writing themselves,” Halpern said.

Adrian Canham, an English major at SCCC, said he attended the event for the second time because he enjoys creative writing and the festival has opened him up “to new writers and new styles of writing.”

Colin Clarke, an English professor who helped plan the festival, said he was happy with this year’s turnout.

“Events like this … are a tremendous opportunity for our students to be exposed to fresh ideas and perspectives, and it’s heartening that so many students took advantage of this opportunity.”

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