Festival offers reading fun with local writers

Published 9:21 pm Monday, April 16, 2018

A crowd-pleaser for families and individuals that love good stories will make its triumphant return this weekend.

Paul D. Camp Community College is partnering with Suffolk Public Library to host the Suffolk Literary Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus, 271 Kenyon Road.

The festival is free and open for the public to enjoy a slew of activities. All ages will be able to have their faces painted, attend a poetry workshop and flex their creativity even more in literary rap battles.

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“We’ll give them a topic, and they’ll have to create — in rap terms — a “hot 16” based on that,” said PDCCC Student Activities Coordinator Justin Ellis.

Via Goode of Young Audiences Arts for Learning Virginia will present her riveting storytelling program. Goode has been a professional storyteller since 2011 and has delivered more than 600 performances in schools and Hampton Roads public libraries.

Kristin Mehaffey, who teaches at the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, will lead a workshop on comic books and visual storytelling. Attendees will be able to perform classic stories in the Adult Readers Theatre but with unique twists.

“We give them a script on the spot but in a different setting,” Ellis explained. “It may be a Shakespeare play but set in the 1920s and use that vernacular, or in the Wild West at the O.K. Corral.”

The Suffolk Public Library will arrange an exciting panel of Hampton Roads authors for the event, including Dr. Christine Bacon, Fanita Pendleton, Barry Jordan Jr. and many more writers.

The PDCCC Literary Club founded the festival nine years ago, led by Ronette Jacobs, assistant professor of English at PDCCC. The festival was last held in 2015 with approximately 100 attendees before it was suspended by Jacobs for medical reasons.

The return of the festival is meant both to serve the Suffolk community and to honor the work of Jacobs.

“At Paul D. Camp Community College, I wanted to instill my love for literature and reading not only to students but to the community,” Jacobs said. “I wanted to connect those with the love of reading and inspire others to read more.”

She also wants the festival to nurture relationships between the college and the city.

“It was always my vision to bring the students and the community together,” she said.

Search “Suffolk Literary Festival” on Facebook for a complete list of attendees, festival schedule and other information.