Diana Clark, a senior English major, has been accepted into the advanced fiction class at the New York State Writers Institute Summer Program to be held in July at Skidmore College. Diana is the second LC English major to be accepted into this summer program.
“The English Department is thrilled that both of our students who applied to the New York State Writers Institute Summer Program at Skidmore have been accepted and will be able to attend,” said Professor Laura Marello. “They will be working with very accomplished writers and studying with students from very fine writing programs.” Adrienne Athanas ’13 is the other English major who will be attending.
Diana has high hopes for this summer learning experience. “I hope to learn everything there is to learn,” she said. “My ultimate goal in life is to become a novelist, so any opportunity that allows me to improve my writing is greatly appreciated. This program is filled with amazingly talented writers who I never dreamed of meeting, let alone learning from.”
Diana is also looking forward to meeting other young writers from around the country. “I think having other people read my work, people who aren’t familiar with me or my writing, is going to be something I can carry with me afterwards. I hope I will be able to create some new relationships while I’m there, as well. When it comes to writing, or really, any creative art form, it’s always nice to have a group of people you can rely on later in life to support you.”
Diana says LC has helped her to be successful. “I had never been so encouraged and supported in my writing until I came to University of Lynchburg,” she said. “The English Department here is like a second family to me.” Diana explained that Professor Marello not only nominated her for the Skidmore Writers Program, but also worked feverishly to help her get funding. “She really went to bat for me on this one,” Diana said. “She stayed up half the night looking for ways to get funding for me. I wouldn’t be going to this program if it weren’t for her.”
As an enthusiastic reader of fiction since childhood, Diana says she always enjoyed creating various characters and their worlds, but it wasn’t until she was a sophomore in high school that she began writing fiction. “I distinctly remember talking to my then girlfriend over the phone, saying, ‘Man, I wish I could do this sort of thing for a living.’ It wasn’t until I actually said it out loud did I realize, ‘Hey, wait a minute. This isn’t just some crazy pipe dream. People actually do this for a living; they’re called novelists.’ Growing up, reading was always a form of escapism for me, and I wanted to be able to provide that escapism for others. For me, fiction has always been my go-to genre.”
Diana is still processing all that the Skidmore experience will mean to her. “I am beyond excited and admittedly nervous, but I’m incredibly grateful to be going,” she said. “I hope to make the English Department at LC proud while I’m there.”