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Students showcase work at Writers Harvest

The chill is finally settling into these hills, and while the cold might be welcomed as a sign of the oncoming winter and a real reason to indulge in a PSL, for the English Department, it’s a hallmark of their biggest event of the year. The Writers Harvest, on Nov. 18, aims to fill Clemson’s cold autumn atmosphere with a celebration of local writing.

Established nearly 20 years ago by Share Our Strength, The Writers Harvest will not only showcase the best writers that Clemson has to offer, but will also benefit Loaves and Fishes, a Greenville-based organization that helps feed the hungry.  

Beginning as a way to showcase Clemson work, the Harvest was initially composed of a handful of English Department readers. As the program grew, however, Professor Mike Pulley saw a need for a leader. Pulley came to Clemson in 2009 and took over the managing and organizing the event.

 “[Early on] we didn’t have quite as many published poets and novelists in the English department. So there was a smaller group of us that was reading every year,” Pulley said. 

That’s changed in recent years, as Clemson hired numerous creative writers in the English department, leading to a growth in the availability of the material for the Writers Harvest. Because of that, Pulley says, “we have almost now a completely different line up of people who haven’t read before.” 

Faculty from the English department usually read and write for the festival, but this year, for the first time, students were able to submit writing and win an award. “It’s really all about the students,” Pulley said. 

Miriam Mceween and Preston Stone are the two students whose writing was chosen to be read at this year’s event. A panel of five judges, two of whom are student leaders of the English Major Organization, chose their pieces in what Pulley calls “a hands down consensus”. 

“I’m really excited to be a part of it, I think it’s a good cause. I was honestly shocked when I won,” said Mceween, whose piece deals with rape culture. “It’s not just being cornered in an alleyway; it happens very immediately in your social circles.” 

According to RAINN (the rape, abuse, and incest national network), nearly 80 percent of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. 

Her piece was personal to her, but Mceween wrote it in a fictional format. 

“[The piece] was honest but had a social consciousness that I hadn’t used with any of my other work. It was the most poignant thing to my life,” said Mceween.

Preston Stone is the second student writer who is being awarded for the poetry he submitted. “I submitted several pieces for the application. Most of them are southern poems—that is, accented monologue poems with southern subjects.” 

When Stone submitted his work, he was unsure about whether or not he would win. 

“With any competition, you hope for the best. But, as a writer, you are aware [of] the high likelihood of rejection.” 

Stone recalls the excitement of winning as a feeling of elation. “I’m really excited to read,” said Stone.

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