By Abby Wargo
Student Life Editor
The Rose O’Neill Literary House’s penultimate event of the fall semester, the First Year Reading, serves as a kind of debutante ball for young writers emerging in the Washington College literary scene.
“This is a tradition at WC that invites students in English 103 Intro to Creative Writing [to read their work]. I don’t know how long this has been going on, but you can see posters for it around this house that go back probably 50 years or so, so it’s a storied tradition here,” said Dr. James Hall, director of the Literary House and associate professor of English.
A total of 16 first-year students read from their works of poetry and prose. Each student was allotted three minutes to read one or more of their works.
The readers exhibited a variety of different genres, including 12 poems, four prose excerpts, and one essay.
The subject matters were diverse as well. Everything from a child playing with chalk in freshman Nicole Hatfield’s “Sidewalk Chalk,” to a golden shovel tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks in freshman Justin Nash’s “Already Apart and Drifting Still,” to a response to institutionalized racism in “Women of Color” by freshman Day Williams.
Three of the 16 students that read have written, or are in the process of writing, full-length novels.
Freshman Sarah Bowden, pen name S.A. Bowden, read an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, which recounted the tumultuous past of a Catholic priest.
Freshman Leah Duff read the first chapter from her completed, though not-yet-published, novel, and Vanessa Rupertus read an excerpt from the sequel to her already-published novel, “Elemental Reactions.”
The full list of readers included Kathryn Bedard, Bowden, MacKenzie Brady, Rachel Chambers, Jake Dipaola, Duff, Julia Gannon, Hatfield, Adahne Hemp, Elizabeth Hill, Nic Job, Nash, Rupertus, Brandie Ruth, Megan Walsh, and Williams.
“Maybe one of those people will win the Sophie Kerr prize, who knows?” Dr. Hall said.
This week, the Literary House is hosting a showing of the film “Hidden Figures” on Friday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. as their last event of the semester.