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Winter With the Writers hosts authors and interns

This year’s Winter With the Writers interns have finally been announced, along with National Book Awards authors who will be coming to Rollins College in February.

The college has the opportunity to host these new writers because of its new partnership with the National Book Foundation.

Two of those authors will be coming to work with the fourteen WWW student interns.

Winter With the Writers is a literary arts festival sponsored by the English Department in which students have the opportunity to work closely with prestigious poets and storytellers.

The National Book Foundation is an organization that brings together the American literary community in order to recognize excellent writing.

On February 25, the college will welcome authors Sy Montgomery and Ross Gay. Montgomery is a naturalist and nonfiction writer and Gay is a poet. Both authors will be giving master classes during Winter With the Writers as well as working closely with the interns on their own projects.

Dr. Carol Frost, Rollins English professor and director of Winter With the Writers, explained some of the process in choosing the writers for this literary festival.

“When choices are being made, WWW keeps in mind the program as a whole. I like for the festival to be wide-ranging and balanced and to offer surprises. The two writers also seemed to complement each other—both writing from the natural world: Sy Montgomery a naturalist and nonfiction writer and Ross Gay a poet.”

Both of these authors have much to offer as well as many great works that the interns will be exploring.

There are 14 new interns for the Winter With the Writers 2016 season and they are looking forward to all this literary festival has to offer.

“As an English major and a writer, I hope that it will improve my analytical skills during discussion . . . [and] cause me to think on my toes and outside the box. Trying to find a genre that can become my niche while I am still learning so many new ideas and forms as student has been daunting,” said Nia Morgan ’17, one of the WWW interns.

Morgan stated that the most difficult part of the WWW internship process was choosing one of her own pieces of writing to turn in.

“It is very difficult to capture yourself in one piece of writing, considering you grow each and every time, but I settled on a poem because I feel that I am my truest in my poetry.”

She, like the other interns, is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this experience and cannot wait for the new season to begin.

Dr. Frost stated that when choosing interns, she looks “for passion and reliability. Writing talent helps, certainly, but an open mind and heart are essential. . . Empathetic imagination. . . A taste for nuance and a sense of humor.”

The two National Book Awards authors coming to Rollins will bring plenty of insider knowledge, experience, and savvy to the table and help students grow in their academic skills.

Montgomery has scriptwriting skills and 20 acclaimed books to his name, while Gay is the author of three poetry collections, an associate professor of poetry at Indiana University, and a professor in Drew University’s MFA program in poetry.

Frost said of the pair of guests, “Montgomery will bring her passion for the wild, her excellently written prose, and a sense of humor. Besides, who doesn’t love an octopus? [Author’s note: Her NBA-nominated book is called The Soul of an Octopus.]

“Ross Gay will bring his enormous energy and, everywhere in his poems, a rich and nuanced sense of how, in a world of loss, to find solace in the natural spheres of orchard and garden. Both writers are personable, relatable, and they know about good writing.”

Many other talented writers will be giving master classes as well, such as Antonio Skàrmeta, a Chilean novelist, screenwriter and diplomat; Philip F. Deaver, Rollins College English professor, author, and poet; Chase Twichell, the author of seven books for poetry and Irving Bacheller Professor of Creative Writing.

Everyone is truly excited for this new Winter With the Writers season and ready to begin learning and getting to know the writers.

“I am still freaking out over my acceptance,” said Morgan. “This is truly an experience I won’t ever forget.”

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