Seven Ouachita Baptist University English majors recently presented their original work at Sigma Tau Delta international English honor society’s 2012 national convention in New Orleans.
At the convention, the students read their writing submission in front of a group of other Sigma Tau Delta members, answered questions and talked with the group about their work.
Emily Davis, a senior from Little Rock, Ark., presented “Ruins, Rings and Redemption: Morality in Middle Earth,” a research paper on The Lord of the Rings.
“The conference was a great opportunity to receive feedback and constructive criticism from other English majors and professors, as well as to gain exposure to other worldviews, writing styles and topics,” Davis said.
The students also had the opportunity to hear from different published authors, attend workshop sessions and also experience New Orleans.
“Apart from attending sessions, I enjoyed exploring New Orleans and encountering the diversity and excitement of its culture,” Davis said. “Within our group, I loved getting to strengthen existing friendships and grow new ones.”
Marissa Thornberry, a senior from Mabelvale, Ark., presented a poem titled “Chronicle of Seasons,” a piece that focuses on nature and how it lines up with human experiences and emotions.
“The conference was beneficial to me as a writer, but more than anything it was an excellent bonding experience with the other students who went,” Thornberry said.
Thornberry added that she enjoyed hearing from various authors because it encouraged her to continue to master her own writing voice.
Jody Persson, a senior from Sherwood, Ark., presented a creative nonfiction piece titled “Just Enough.”
“It’s a lighthearted reflection on my mom and some of her quirks,” Persson said.
“Listening to other writers present their work is always a good way to stimulate creativity in your own writing, and I got to listen to several excellent pieces by other writers that gave me ideas about how to go about my own work in new ways,” Persson added.
Dielle Short, a senior from Boerne, Texas, presented a short informal response paper to Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, called “Masticating the Myth.”
Short, who has attended a Sigma Tau Delta convention before, said the convention got her excited about writing in general.
“Creativity needs room to grow, and a conference full of writers in the Big Easy is an excellent place to find inspiration!” Short said.
Ellen Eubanks, a junior from Arkadelphia, Ark., presented a short story entitled “Flotsam,” a piece that focuses on the effects of war.
“It helped improve my confidence in myself as a writer getting to present my story at a national convention,” Eubanks said. “I enjoyed getting to hear other people’s work, and really loved getting to explore New Orleans.”
Jason Curlin, a junior from Arkadelphia, Ark., also presented a short story titled “Under the Covers: A Child’s Tale,” and Bethany Kohl, a senior from Harrisburg, Mo., presented a fiction piece titled “He Cannot Hear You.”
Sigma Tau Delta, founded in 1924, is an international English honors society and is part of the Association of College Honors Societies. There are more than 750 chapters located throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Europe with a total of 8,500 members inducted annually. The Ouachita chapter coordinates multiple events for the university such as publishing the OBU literary journal SCOPE, hosting lecturers and conducting high school writing contests.
For more information about Sigma Tau Delta or the English department, contact chapter co-sponsors Dr. Doug Sonheim at email@example.com or (870) 245-5554 or Dr. Amy Sonheim at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5552.
By Lara Overman