USF conference to welcome college writers

The University of St. Francis will welcome college students and guests from around the country to the 22nd Annual Undergraduate Conference on English Language and Literature this Saturday at USF, 500 Wilcox Street, Joliet. More than 50 papers by students from 25 colleges and universities will be presented through the day, and two authors will address guests at the open and close the event.

Poet Susanna Childress will kick off the conference with a 9 a.m. reading in the Sexton Auditorium followed by a book-signing. She holds degrees in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at Austin and Florida State University. Her first book, “Jagged with Love,” was awarded the Brittingham Prize in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her second book, “Entering the House of Awe,” published by New Issues, won the 2012 Society of Midland Authors Award in Poetry. She has received an AWP Intro Journals Award, the National Career Award in Poetry from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and a Lilly post-doctoral fellowship. She lives in Holland, Michigan.

Starting at 10:15 a.m. and continuing until 4:15 p.m., students will present papers in small sessions in various campus locations. Seven University of St. Francis students will present the following papers: “Defending the Drinkard” by Erin Dedin (Minooka); “e.e. cummings: Surrealism, Emotion, and the rites of Spring” by Sarah Hiscock (Minooka); “In Defense of Burning the Forest,” “The Bard’s Song” and “The Magical Mabinogion” by Doug Overbeck (Plainfield); “Like Crazy: Imagination and the Lover in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Sarah Haley (Joliet); “Overcoming the Trauma of Prejudice by Reason: An Analysis of the 8th Juror in 12 Angry Men” by Elyse Lorenz (Joliet); “Savagery is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart” by Kathleen Arnold (Tinley Park) and “Waiting” and “The Porch” by Marilee Urbanczyk (Joliet).

At 4:30 p.m., Alicia Erian, author of the highly acclaimed novel-turned-major motion picture “Towelhead,” will close the event with a keynote address titled “The Nuisance of Memoir: Why Fiction Isn’t Always Enough. Erian is also the author of the short story collection, “The Brutal Language of Love” and is currently at work on her memoir, “The Dragon Lies Down.” She is an Assistant Professor of English at Northeastern University in Chicago, and she has been published in Playboy, the Iowa Review, and the New York Times. Following her address, a book-signing and reception will take place.

Contact Professor Karen Duys, chair of the USF English Department, at (815) 740-3453 or for more information. On conference day, call (800) 735-7500.

The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit