Nine students and members of the Loyola community participated in a three-night creative writing workshop facilitated by novelist Kevin Rabalais (A&S ’98), visiting Australian writer Daniel Stephensen, and Jennifer Levasseur (A&S ’98). The group used Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot as a foundation for discussion. Aside from conversations based on their shared reading, the group participated in on-the-spot exercises and read from their works in progress.
The workshop was held in Bobet Hall from May 28th to 30th and was offered to the community free of charge.
Stephensen, whose work recently appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, wanted to share, on his second visit to New Orleans, some of the things he’s learned through his own reading and writing. He views this type of collaboration through discussions and exercises¬—“for the love of the craft, for the sake of stories”—essential. “Me, I’d love to do it all again,” he said. “It’s the good life, getting together to share writing tips and strategies, being inspired and energized…. Let’s do it again sometime. How about next year?”
John Monroe, one of the participants, found the workshop even more useful than he had expected. “If, during their informal discussions at the Walker Percy Center, Kevin Rabalais, Jennifer Levasseur and Daniel Stephensen did nothing more than share their lists of the diverse authors for whom they have great respect, I would have been happy,” he said. “But by sharing their enthusiasm for literature and writing, and their many anecdotes about their struggles as authors and educators committed to furthering literature and making real contributions to the collective wisdom of our time, they enriched my time with them far more than could be reasonably expected during the mere six hours we had together.”
The group can now stay in contact and exchange ideas through the Walker Percy Center’s Facebook page and through further meetings at local coffee shops.