posted April 11, 2001

Profs at Writing Conference

 Four members of the Hope College English faculty will be presenters during the Associated Writing Programs National Conference, which will be held on Thursday-Saturday, April 18-21, in Palm Springs, Calif.

Jackie Bartley, Susan Atefat Peckham, Joel Peckham and Heather Sellers will each make presentations during the four-day event. The three sessions featuring the four Hope faculty are out of only approximately 150 sessions during the nationwide conference. More than 1,000 writers, editors, publishers and teachers are anticipated for the conference.

Atefat Peckham and Peckham will make presentations during "Narrative in the New Millennium" on Friday, April 20. Peckham will also be the session's moderator.

Bartley will present a short paper as part of the pedagogy presentations that take place on Saturday, April 21.

Sellers will make a presentation and serve as moderator of "From Self to Family to World: A Roundtable Discussion on How to Help Students Deepen Their Sense of Writing About 'Self' in Creative Nonfiction." The session will be held on Saturday, April 21.

Atefat Peckham is an assistant professor of English, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1999. Bartley is an adjunct assistant professor of English and coordinates Interdisciplinary Studies 101, and has been a member of the faculty since 1989. Peckham is a visiting assistant professor of English, and joined the faculty in 2000. Sellers is an associate professor of English, and has been on the faculty since 1995.

Atefat Peckham and Peckham will be among five presenters during "Narrative in the New Millennium." The session will explore the form and function of narrative in a variety of literary genres, with the panelists representing different genres such as poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

Atefat Peckham will examine the way that ethnic writers can use narrative to bridge the distance between their experience and the audience's experience. In her chosen genre of lyric narrative poetry, for example, an author might build cultural information into a work to provide readers from other traditions with context to help inform their understanding of the piece.

Bartley's paper, a one page exercise/lesson for classroom use, will be published with other pedagogy presentations in book form for purchase from AWP.

Peckham's presentation will be on narrative poetry as a hybrid genre between story and lyric. He will consider the way that narrative--story--works as a means of challenging and defining cultural values, often through a character who seeks either to change or to defend his or her society and role within society. Using story characteristics, Peckham believes, narrative poetry probes not only cultural, social and psychological boundaries but those of form and genre as well.

Sellers will be one of five presenters during "From Self to Family to World: A Roundtable Discussion on How to Help Students Deepen Their Sense of Writing About 'Self' in Creative Nonfiction." Her presentation will focus on the way that she uses interviewing as a learning tool. She has found that interviewing helps students better understand others' perspectives, and that the process in turn gives them a valuable point of reference for understanding their own experience.

Her work builds on a presentation made by three of her students during last year's national conference. Her students' session was one of only two undergraduate-led panels presented as part of the 2000 conference's regular offerings.

The Associated Writing Programs (AWP) is a nonprofit literary and educational organization. AWP's mission is to foster literary talent and achievement, to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, and to serve the makers, teachers, students and readers of contemporary writing. Hope's is one of 325 college and university creative writing programs associated with AWP, which has 20,000 members.