Literature basks in the limelight at Brenau's LitFest
Authors share stories, secrets at university's inaugural celebration of the written art
Brenau University senior Lily Li helps Sarah Peters, 2, paint with a glitter pen during Brenau LitFest in Gainesville, on Oct. 14, 2017. Workshops, activities and panels were held to celebrate literature and fine arts. - photo by David Barnes

Local storytellers gathered Saturday at Brenau University’s LitFest, offering the community a day of literary workshops at the Downtown Center.

“I hope this is the start of a great tradition,” said author Jameson Gregg from Dahlonega.

The event’s topics included poetry, publishing, memoirs and theatrical adaptations.

“Any time you can speak to any group of people, as authors you want to tell your story and tell about your books,” author Rona Simmons from Cumming said. “Being in an educational environment, I am hoping to not only reach a different audience and connect with students who are either studying writing and literature, but this is a good way to inspire them.”

Gregg, Simmons and author Sandra Hood of Buford each were speakers at Litfest covering humor in literature, going from an idea to a finished product and listening to one’s inner voice.

“Sometimes it is a hard world to figure out how to get started and to have that courage to put something out on paper that you are thinking about,” Hood said. “I look forward to telling my story about how my book went from a thought to an award-winning book. I want to inspire other people to take that story that is within them and get it out on paper to start that journey.”

Rockmart author Richard Fierce, who wrote “The Fallen King Chronicles,” said LitFest is a way to encourage the younger generation to “read more.”

“I like to share my work and I think when a college or school puts on a literary event, that is a neat thing. From my experience, people don’t read anymore today so to push that is awesome,” Fierce said. “There is nothing wrong with movies, but I feel like when I read a book I see it more clearly. Often authors leave things vague on purpose so people can get their own picture of it. I think if people read more, they would experience more.”

Brenau University 1992 graduate and Monroe author Tory Bailey of the “Coming Home” trilogy said LitFest has been a “good way to meet readers and network with other writers and authors.”

“I also get to attend some of the programs they have today because this is also a great learning experience,” Bailey said. “The big thing about this event and about Brenau University is that it is a really good strong part of the Gainesville community. It has been amazing to see how much the university has grown over the years and see that while this is a literary festival, they also included a lot of great activities for children which is a great way to open that doorway for them to get into a love of books.”

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