March 26, 2013

Story Week 2013

By Kristen Nathan


The time of year arrived again to be inspired, to be entertained, and to share ideas not just for literary purposes, but to better the world. Yes friends, Story Week 2013 was last week and was a huge success! The festival started Sunday March 17 and lasted until Friday March 22. 2013 marked the seventh annual event with the residing theme as "Vision and Voice."

Randall Albers, Chair of Columbia’s Fiction Writing Department, addressed the theme as being "meant to capture something of a relationship crucial to writers and other artists at every level of development." What exactly is the relationship between one’s vision and one’s voice?

Whether we are nonfiction writers, or other artists, we all have our own visions that our imaginations have built, and it is with our chosen medium we try best to portray our ideas to our audiences. Without clarity, what good is sharing an idea? Albers believes, "Vision leads language and clarity of vision gives authority to the storyteller’s voice." Audiences are more likely to take an artist’s word when the elements of the final project come through strong and lucid. But audiences also still appreciate the chance to fill in some blanks themselves and use their imaginations.

Every year, Story Week is always a time meant for artists of all kinds to come and open their minds to new possibilities, new stories, and new ideas to not necessarily change their thinking, but to inspire fresh ways of doing so. Not only will that help in one’s own work, but it will also influence open–mindedness when interacting with others different from us and when we are head–to–head in diverse situations. The festival itself represents a shared vision of many people, and that shared vision is to create a beautiful piece of art that comes straight from an individuals’ mind and soul.

The festival continues to grow each year by raising new questions and themes, and with last week’s visiting authors such as Sapphire (Push), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Jane Hamilton (Laura Rider’s Masterpiece), and Columbia’s English Department faculty member Adam McOmber (The White Forest), it’s impossible not to have newfangled ideas swimming in one’s head. The festival also hosted award–winning authors, Patricia McNair, Joe Meno, and Audrey Niffenegger, Columbia’s very own from the Fiction Department. Everyone involved in Story Week appreciates those who came out to support the authors, but also encourages people to continue coming. Open your minds and horizons to new and great writing!

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