Téa Franco

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Creative writing and academic writing don’t traditionally go hand in hand.

However, each year the Winthrop University Department of English hosts a departmental conference that allows students from both sides of the major, creative and academic, to display their work.

The two-day conference, March 7-8, featured creative works such as poetry, prose or creative nonfiction, which was read on day one, and academic research presentations during day two.

Casey Cothran, chair of the English department, said she wanted all students to have a chance to present their work in a conference setting.

“So often in our English classes, or even in our creative writing classes, students create these amazing things and no one ever gets to see them but the teachers. So it’s really nice that they get the opportunity to show off these pieces that they worked so hard on,” Cothran said.

Alexandra Pennington, who presented an academic paper at the conference, said she appreciated the opportunity to share her work on the fairytales “Cinderella” and “Donkeyskin.”

“I wrote about how…women use physical transformations in that to escape their societal limitations and that’s how they do it through creative story and my professor in world lit just really liked my paper,” said Pennington.

“We did a mini conference as our final for that class. (My professor) thought that I did that really well and encouraged me to submit my paper for the conference,” she said.

Casey Smith, who read her poetry during creative writing portion of the conference, said she enjoyed hearing other students perform their work.

“It was really awesome to be part of the creative showcase that happened in early March, because even though a lot of the people in the creative writing department know each other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been in a workshop with someone,” said Smith.

“So you might know someone that maybe you never got a chance to experience their work or maybe you have read their work but you never got the chance to see them perform it,” she said. “I’m really honored to be there with everyone else and to hear everything that they have to say.”