Alumni authors discuss writing during annual panel

Five alumni visited campus on Wednesday, Oct. 23, to discuss their books at SVSU’s annual Alumni Authors Showcase.

About 50 attendees came to the event.

Forever Red, The Office of Alumni Relations and The Writing Center hosted the event.

R.J. Key, a secondary social education sophomore, led the Forever Red Alumni Author Committee. Key said he hoped attendees learned that anyone can be an author.

“I hope attendees got some interesting stories, saw the variety of things that some SVSU graduates can do and that you don’t have to be an English major to write a book.”

Panelists included:

Judge Marylin Atkins, a 1973 psychology graduate who wrote the memoir “The Triumph of Rosemary” in 2017

On writing: “Don’t ever give up. If you hear the words ‘you can’t do it,’ stick to your gut, have faith in yourself, find some people who will be supportive for you. But you have to tell your truth if you’re going to write an autobiography. There is rain in everybody’s life, and if you don’t put the rain in your story, you’re not being truthful to yourself, and you’re not being truthful to your readers.”

Advice to young writers: “Everybody has a story.”

R.S. Deeren, a 2012 creative writing graduate who has a short story featured in the anthology “Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation”

On writing: “I knew writing wasn’t going to be a practical job. It doesn’t pay a lot for a long time. … I wrote a lot because I didn’t know what to do without writing, but I also loved the jobs I had, these hourly jobs with no benefits. I liked writing about them, hearing what stories folks had to tell.”

Advice to young writers: “If you’re sleeping well at night, you’re writing right.”

Adela Crandell Durkee, a 1982 biology graduate who wrote a historical fiction novel titled “A Ship of Pearl”

On writing: “Other people who read your work will catch things you will never, ever catch because you know what it’s about from the inside of you out. There are things you just cannot see. … Look at criticism like going to buy a new piece of clothing. Try it on, see if it fits. If it’s a good fit, you will know.”

Advice to young writers: “Stay curious.”

Bethany Goforth, a 2014 graphic design graduate who illustrated and wrote “Coco and Kitty”

On illustrating: “Constructive criticism, no matter what facet of
life, will help you come better. … By doing so, I really feel over the last few years, my studio has really started to take off, and I get several commissions per year.”

Advice to young writers: “Stick to it. Follow your dreams. I know it sounds cliché, but I am living my dreams.”

Walter Kitter, a 2004 elementary education graduate who wrote “A Place That I Love: A Tour Driver’s Perspective of Mackinac Island”

On writing: “It’s the learning through the research that drives me to write. Learning something I didn’t know was the best part of the process for me.”

Advice to young writers: “If you start something, finish it.”

Kaitlyn Farley

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