By Sarah Williams, Staff Reporter
Storyfest is a corroboration of students and professors coming together to discuss the question, “What makes a good story?” On both Wednesday and Thursday of this past week, students gathered in the Emery and at The Landing to display posters, interpret their favorite stories and poems, create new stories and listen to a couple amazing writers.
Students from the Child and Family Counseling and Psychopathology class created books as a part of Co-Lab to use as a form of therapy. Beth Labbe, a student from this class, quoted a phrase she had learned during the process, “What’s mentionable is manageable. What isn’t mentionable isn’t manageable.” Both Labbe and Lindsay Cochran were there to promote and show their self-made books including, “Johnny’s Feeling Sick Again,” and “Moving Away”. Cochran explained, “Each group had 4-5 members creating a book.” Then she explained that one person even wrote a song to go with the co-lab project.
There were several posters on display from the students in Christine Darrohn’s, British Text and Context II class. Jess Casey talked about her huge trifold poster which was colorful and professionally pulled together. “I designed and ran the study,” Casey explained that it took several months for the research and several hours to pull together the poster. She expanded on the poster, “The effects of themes in narrative focusing on self and individuality, and communion with friendship and relationships.” Casey is also taking the class, Research and Development, and the poster is an accumulation of her semester-long project.
Aimee Degroat was there with the University bookstore to promote books from the award winning writer, Aminatta Forna, who would be speaking that evening as a keynote presenter at Storyfest. Forna’s books including her memoir, “The Devil That Danced on the Water,” were selling already. Degroat said, “I may have to buy all three.”
Later on the same evening, other students from Darrohn’s class read their interpretations of stories at The Landing. Mollie Herman’s presentation of “The Thorn” with her modern day twist was hilarious. She spoke as two different characters, one from the romantic period of Wordsworth’s poem, and as a modern day woman. To keep the characters separate she had a big white hat she put on to play the part of the modern woman. The result was a lot of laughter from the audience and panel members.
Aminatta Forna met informally with a small group of students from the Co-lab and Steven Quackenbush prior to her presentation. “I’ve always rejected labels,” Forna explained talking of her upbringing with her White British mother and Black African father. She talked of reading good literature to avoid labels. Forna was a very articulate speaker with a sense of humor. She talked of the hours she spent writing and admitted, “I love everything about writing.” She also said she didn’t do social engagements of lunches, as they were interruptions to her work.
Overall, Story Fest was a huge success with many students taking part with their voices, talent and originality.