Angelo State University hosted its 25th Annual Writer’s Conference honoring the late Elmer Kelton and featuring award-winning poet and author Naomi Shihab Nyein in the CJ Davidson Conference Center inside the Houston Harte University Center March 3-4.
The two-day conference was held in tribute to Kelton, a best-selling western author from San Angelo who passed away in 2009. The meeting consisted of two presentations from Nye along with six sessions from 18 other guest authors and poets, including various readings .
An award-winning author of poetry, fiction and children’s literature, Nye is also a professor of creative writing and poetry at Texas State University. A self-described “wandering poet,” she has also spent over 40 years traveling the world to lead writing workshops and inspire students of all ages.
During her second presentation, Nye answered various questions and gave advice to up-and-coming teachers. “Whatever you can do to sneak text that you love that has mattered in your life into the classroom, do it, even if it’s only putting it up on the board or on a poster because kids will notice that,” Nye said. “But I [also] think you have to keep feeling revived yourself, to continue doing all the things that you will have to do.”
She also shared her thoughts on the best place for an aspiring author to start. “Read as much as you can, as many different kinds of things as you can, follow the voices you love,” Nye said.
“Find the voices that speak to you and then get in some kind of regular ritual habit, devotion, whatever you want to call it, of writing for yourself … and then find a way to share your work.”
Nye also encouraged attendees to enjoy and find comfort in their literary and artistic passions. “I hope writing or drawing or whatever you like to do can be your friend for your whole life and help you not give up on the things you love,” Nye said.
“The ASU Writers Conference is dedicated to San Angelo’s own best-selling western author, Elmer Kelton, who passed away in 2009. The author of more than 40 books, Kelton was a seven-time winner of the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award and was the first Distinguished Visiting Professor at ASU. The conference is sponsored by the university and hosted by the Department of English and Modern Languages.”
Angelo State University, Writers Conference, Naomi Shihab Nye, Elmer Kelton