Visiting Writers Series returns to Drinko

Authors Alison Umminger and Margaret Mitchell visited Marshall University’s John Deaver Drinko Library Thursday as part of the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series.

During the event, Umminger read an excerpt from her novel “American Girls” and Mitchell read excerpts from her novel “Pretty Is.” Both novels tackle important issues, such as sexism and dealing with trauma, specifically from female perspectives.

As well as supporting women writers, both authors want to showcase the power of women and their ability to persevere and move beyond societal pressures and personal issues.

“Women have been writing as long as anybody has been writing and too often they haven’t received the same amount of attention, or even worse, they have, but they haven’t been taken seriously,” Mitchell said.

Umminger said these messages are important and must be taught in both high school and college curriculum, specifically among impressionable male students.

“I think the challenge is to get young men to understand that it’s really interesting to read what women are writing and that you can read a book by a woman that’s all about women, that’s just about people,” Ummminger said.

Exposing people to women writers also shows students that it’s possible for them to pursue a career in writing and to be successful. For many students, they may not realize that writing is a possible career path for them to pursue or that they can write about important issues such as sexuality.

“I know that a lot of the students that I teach, until we read something, they’re like ‘I didn’t know you could write that,’” said Sarah Chavez, the event’s coordinator and visiting assistant English professor at Marshall. “‘I didn’t know you could talk about these things. I didn’t know there was an audience where people would be open to hearing things about sexuality, about empowerment.’”

In February, the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts will be hosting events to recognize and celebrate Black History Month.

Ryan Murphy can be contacted at [email protected]