Little Levels Writers Workshop Authors Meet And Mingle

Hillsboro, WV – On the eve of the 13th annual Little Levels Heritage Fair and the related Writers Workshop, participants in the workshop and the authors leading it gathered in front of the historic Pearl S. Buck Birthplace to meet and mingle.

The keynote speaker for the workshop this year is Dr. Peter Conn, the Vartan Gregorian Chair in English at the University of Pennslvania and the author of Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography. His interest in Buck at first was more personal than literary.

“In 1975, my wife and I adopted a baby daughter from Korea, thru Welcome House, the worlds’ first international, interracial adoption agency, founded by Pearl Buck in 1949” says Dr. Conn.

Pearl Buck as a literary subject didn’t cross his mind until many years later when he decided he wanted to write a biography, after years of writing academic books. He says it was his wife who gave him the idea of writing about Buck.

Dr. Conn says he discovered that because she had been largely forgotten over the years, everything about Pearl Buck was new. He says in a sense, the book wrote itself. Not that it was a quick project – he spent five years reading, researching and interviewing those who knew Buck.

“I don’t know that there is anybody else that I could have found who would permit me to write in a sense the history of China and America in the 20th Century through the focal point of one individual” according to Dr. Conn.

The other presenters at the Writers workshop are Dr. Laura Bentley, Writer-in-Residence at Marshall University, and Marshall University English professor Dr. Chris Green. Dr. Bentley recently published her first collection of poems called Lake Effect. Now at work on her first novel, she says she’ll be teach a literary technique called Haibun, a combination of prose and Haiku.

Dr. Chris Green teaches Appalachian Literature at Marshall University. He’s taught poetry to everyone from first graders to graduate students.

“What I mean by teaching it is I get people to write it” says Dr. Green. “People are always terrified at first, [but] when I’m teaching people bond together as a group and they all discover that they have amazing stories to tell.”

In addition to the Writers workshop, Dr. Conn, Dr. Bentley and Dr. Green will be part of the Pearl S. Buck birthday celebration Saturday afternoon at the Buck birthplace in Hillsboro. The party gets underway at 4pm.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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