Lamar Literary Festival showcases regional literature Feb. 13-15
Lamar University’s Office of the Provost and the Department of English and Modern Languages will host the Lamar Literary Festival Monday through Tuesday, Feb. 13-15. Readings by authors from Lamar and across the state will begin at 4 and 7 p.m. all three days in the Elvis Mason Room in the John Gray Center. Festival events are open to the public without charge.
In addition to showcasing the works of Lamar faculty and regional authors published through Ink Brush Press, the festival celebrates the launch of Lamar University Press.
“This means something great for the community because it will be a new local source for literature,” said Jim Sanderson, writing director at Lamar. “This puts us on the map because regional, small literary presses are all but being wiped out. Most of the university presses in our region are struggling or have already shut down.”
But the cause for these closings is not due to a shortage of good writers or quality literature, Sanderson said.
“Many colleges and universities are starting to run more and more as if they are corporate entities, and they are asking the presses to show a profit,” he said. “It’s very hard for a traditional press to show a profit.”
Lamar University Press is not a traditional press, however. Based on a new technology used by Ink Brush Press, books can be printed on demand, eliminating the cost of warehousing books. Instead of succumbing to the expenses of traditional independent publishers, Lamar University Press can eventually pay for itself while publishing quality literature from writers in the region.
Jerry Craven of Jasper, editor of Lamar University Press, is also press director and founder of Ink Brush Press. He has published nearly 30 books since he launched Ink Brush in 2009, including the 2012 issue of Lamar’s annual literary magazine Pulse. Ink Brush authors that will read at the Literary Festival include Lamar professors Sanderson and Jerry Bradley. Other featured authors are Terry Dalrymple and Chris Ellery of San Angleo; LU alumnus Palmer Hall of San Antonio; Dave Kuhne of Fort Worth; former Texan Andrew Geyer of Aiken, S.C.; and Jan Seale of McAllen, the current Texas poet laureate, whose short story collection “Appearances” is one of the first publications of Lamar University Press. Lamar English instructor Gretchen Johnson will also read from her short story collection “The Joy of Deception,” the second book published by Lamar University Press.
Also reading at the festival are Craven and R.S. Gwynn, professor of English at Lamar.
More information about Ink Brush Press can be found at www.inkbrushpress.com. The John Gray Center is at 855 Jim Gilligan Way in Beaumont.