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SPARKS burns bright

Eighth annual literary festival a winter highlight

Campus and Community

By Janet Harron

Despite being delayed two weeks due to a January blizzard, the eighth annual SPARKS Literary Festival was once again a major success.

The event is hosted and organized by Memorial’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of English.

Sixteen authors read from their work throughout the day, a panel discussion on the importance of place was conducted, the Cox & Palmer SPARKS Creative Writing Award was announced and two major new partnership announcements were made.

Student success

Bridget Canning, a student in Memorial’s creative writing program, received the $4,000 Cox & Palmer SPARKS Creative Writing Award and a two-week residency at Kent Cottage in Brigus sponsored by the Landfall Trust.

Matthew Hollett, one of this year’s SPARKS writers and a part-time student in Memorial’s creative writing program, was named the recipient of the Newfoundland Quarterly’s Creative Non-Fiction Fellowship. This fellowship is one part of the Newfoundland Quarterly’s Canada 150 project that focuses on creating and investing in a new online presence, which will launch in February.

Undergraduate student Molly Clarke, who is currently enrolled as a double major in English and linguistics, received first place in the SPARKS Poetry Prize, sponsored by Brown Morgan Fitzgerald & Avis, for her poem Hunchbacks.

Exceptional performances

Among the participants at this year’s festival were Justin Brake, Andreae Callanan, Bridget Canning, Eva Crocker, Michael Crummey, Mary Dalton, Amy Donovan, Allison Graves, Matthew Hollett, Philippa Jones, Dave Paddon, Chad Pelley, Ed Riche, Susie Taylor and Russell Wangersky.

“We were simply thrilled with the exceptional quality of all of the performances — they were beautiful, riveting, wildly imaginative and deeply moving,” said Dr. Jennifer Lokash, head, Department of English, and chair of the SPARKS committee.

SPARKS founder Mary Dalton and current chair Dr. Jennifer Lokash
From left, SPARKS founder Mary Dalton and current chair Dr. Jennifer Lokash.

“And we are especially proud of our students and former students, whose work shines as bright as anything and who are such wonderful ambassadors for our creative writing programs. Can’t wait to see how their writing lives evolve. What a fantastically engaged audience throughout the day as well!”


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