College to celebrate poetry, prose at festival

Published 7:18 pm Saturday, April 14, 2012

By Wendy Harrison
Special to the News-Herald

It has been said that actions speak louder than words. But at least once a year at Paul D. Camp Community College, nothing could be further from the truth.

During the fourth annual Literary Festival, “Poetry & Prose, A Path to Progress!” words will be spoken, emphasized, pondered and above all appreciated.


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Sponsored by the PDCCC Literary Club, the free event will be held Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the atrium of the Hobbs Suffolk Campus at 271 Kenyon Road.

Nathan Richardson addresses participants during last year’s Literary Festival at Paul D. Camp Community College. Richardson will serve as moderator at the April 20 event.

Highlights of the festival include an open-mic session and panel readings, along with storytelling, puppet shows and arts and crafts for the children. Storytelling will be led by PDCCC’s Dr. Harriette Arrington, dean of academic programs, and Dr. Paul Wm. Conco, president.

Arrington, a former teacher, college professor, and public school administrator, is the author of two children’s books. She has performed storytelling around the country.

Conco is also a known storyteller, with a background in the culinary arts, management and education.

In addition, panelists Brenda Andrews, Reginald Johns, Don Roberts and Tony Ruggiero will present original works. Local native and author Nathan Richardson will serve as moderator. Andrews, an accomplished publisher, journalist and public speaker, is the owner of the New Journal and Guide, the state’s oldest African-American weekly newspaper. She writes poetry under the alias, Belle and published her first collection in 2010.

Johns, published author and motivational speaker, is a native of Hampton. He shares his faith through wit and humor and conducts workshops for churches, schools, teachers, civic leagues and art galleries.

An award-winning reporter and a published author, Roberts is co-anchor for WAVY-TV 10. His collection of positive poetry and rap songs, Rap to Live, is for children of all ages. He also hosts the talk show, Bottom Line, which airs Sunday mornings at 5:30.

Ruggiero, a teacher and writer, is known for his groundbreaking novels— dark fantasy thrillers that combine the vampire lore of Anne Rice and the clandestine military secrets of Tom Clancy. He is retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years of service and resides in Portsmouth.

A native of Suffolk, Richardson is an accomplished performance poet, internationally published author and literary consultant. He is the lead coach for the Hampton Roads Youth Poets Slam Team, which will compete in San Francisco in July. His poetry has been commissioned for exhibits in museums in other parts of the country as well as the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk.

Winners of the student poetry contest will present their works during the festival. Books and CDs will be available for purchase after the panel readings, and authors will be available to sign books. The Literary Club will also be sponsoring raffles during the event.

For more information, contact PDCC Literary Club Sponsor Ronette Jacobs at 925-6331 or