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WIU English Department Hosts Regional High Schools for Writing Festival

March 16, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – The English Education Program in the Western Illinois University Department of English hosted the seventh annual Writing Festival Monday, Feb. 10.

This annual festival offers regional high school students the opportunity to experience hands-on writing workshops across a wide variety of disciplines and contexts, including literature, film, creative writing, political science, mathematics, history, religious studies and kinesiology. 

This year, over 80 high school students from Abingdon-Avon High School, Burlington (IA) Community High School, Cuba High School, Moline High School and Warsaw High School attended and were welcomed by WIU Interim President Martin Abraham, Interim Provost Billy Clow and College of Arts and Science Dean Sue Martinelli-Fernandez, who each emphasized the importance of writing, no matter what career path students take. Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to participate in three workshops and explore the wide variety of writing they may encounter at the University.  

English Education Program Director Rebekah Buchanan said she was excited about the continued strong turnout for the Writing Festival.

"It's been a wonderful experience to not only introduce students to all the different ways in which they will engage in writing after high school, but to also see WIU English Education graduates bring their students to the festival," she said. "It makes the event even more exciting."

Cuba High School has been attending the Writing Festival each year. When asked about their experiences, student participant Ashlee Clark said, "The Writing Festival was a blast. I enjoyed the groups I was in. I thought it was interesting to hear other people's opinions on different subjects. I would highly recommend it to others. I can't wait to go back."

Allyson Harold said the festival is an important time to make connections with both professors and other students.

"The writing festival this year was fun and exciting," Harold said. "I enjoyed all the workshops we did and would love to get another chance to go again. The people in each workshop were nice and taught me a lot about writing. The writing festival also gave me a chance to make friends from other schools."
Interim English Chair Chris Morrow noted the strong regional support for writing, saying writing is vital to success in college, as well as in the workplace.

"It is great to see so many local teachers taking time to support their students' writing and giving them the opportunity to grow and develop as writers," he said.
This year's festival also featured a writing contest for students to define love in 250 words or less.  Three students from Burlington Community High School took home top honors with their poems.

For more information on the WIU Department of English, visit

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