Montreat College hosted its fourth annual Creative Writing Festival Friday, May 18. The event, directed by creative writing instructor Dr. Kimberly Angle, hosted roughly 150 participants, including both adults and students, 80 from Owen High School. Students were welcomed by Dr. Angle and by Dr. Dan Struble, the president of Montreat College.

Various workshops were offered around campus: a fiction workshop with Dr. Bill Forstchen, a poetry workshop with Dr. Angle, a song lyric writing workshop with folk singer Matt Auten and Montreat Music Department Chair Kevin Auman, and a comic book fiction workshop with Cathy Adams. The workshops were followed by a barbecue lunch and open mic on Gaither lawn.

Adams’ graphic novel workshop taught participants about two different styles. “Stan Lee, one of the comic industry’s most respected writers, gets much credit for the Marvel Style of story and illustration development,” Adams explained. “Later, the full script method became more popular. Participants learned how each method worked and began their own story ideas based on either method they chose to use.”

One young participant named Hannah enjoyed the festival. “Thank you so much for taking the time to consult with me yesterday,” she wrote in an email to Angle. “I had a wonderful time, and really appreciated all of the great advice you gave me. You were a real encouragement to me, and I hope that I see you again next year at the Creative Writing Festival. Maybe I can take your class when I graduate from high school!”

Adams was also excited about the festival. “I am so grateful that Montreat has a capable and savvy person like Dr. Kimberly Angle in charge of the Creative Writing Festival,” she said. “Under her leadership, this project has grown over the past four years as an identifier for Montreat among high school students. The festival celebrates writing, which is rarely considered a subject for praise among young people, and it celebrates writers, a group which in the world outside academia, rarely gets their due.”

Writers got their due this time– in addition to each participant’s chance to experience varied styles and elements of writing, some writers won awards out of the 57 who submitted to the Creative Writing Contest. The College awarded a total of $26,000 in Montreat scholarships to 34 students, giving nearly 60% of students a head start on their Montreat tuition.

The Creative Writing contest awarded winners in five categories: the Ruth Bell Graham Poetry award, the Ruth Bell Graham Prose award, the Montreat Creative Writing Festival Poetry award, the Montreat Creative Writing Festival Fiction Award (Realistic Fiction), and the Montreat Creative Writing Festival Fiction Award (Fantasy Fiction).

Student participant paid $15.00 for the festival experience, while educators and chaperones were free. The participants came from several different areas including Owen High School, McDowell High School, North Buncombe High School, Reynolds High School, Asheville School, and several Christian and homeschools. One participant, an incoming freshman this fall, came from Florida.