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Liz Bradfield, right, leading a workshop at St. Dunstan’s with Chantel Acevedo, left, participating

Liz Bradfield, right, leading a workshop at St. Dunstan’s with Chantel Acevedo, left, participating

Discovering SHR

On Saturday, February 23, creative writers from all over the Auburn area congregated at St. Dunstan’s Church to participate in the second annual master class workshop led by two of the Southern Humanities Review’s favorite authors.

Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Lambda Literary Award finalist Interpretive Work (2008) and James Laughlin award finalist Approaching Ice (2010), led the morning poetry session. For Bradfield’s workshop, each writer was instructed to bring a significant object. Using everything from Venetian masks to coffee spoons, Bradfield led the participants in exercises that stressed the art of close observation.

The afternoon fiction workshop was led by R. T. Smith. Currently a Writer-in-Residence at Washington and Lee University, Smith has written numerous fiction collections and published works in both the Pushcart Prize Anthology and New Stories from the South. Smith’s workshop focused on all aspects of setting—geography, topography, weather, and social milieu—and showed the importance of rooting characters firmly in time and place.

A former SHR editor himself, Smith was able to speak to what makes the literary magazine such a special publication. “SHR honors the humanities in its title,” he said. “It’s a conversation between the scholarly and the arts, which some might call old-fashioned, but the combination will never cease to be rewarding.”

After the workshops culminated, everyone was invited to attend a public reading at the Gnu’s Room, where the two authors read from their original work, signed books, and mingled with members of the Auburn community.

According to current SHR editor Chantel Acevedo, the whole day was “a wonderful success.”

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