Students interested in creative writing are invited to spend their morning at the University of Lynchburg on Saturday, June 24, for Heart of the Art, a free event that celebrates writers of color and LGBTQIA+ artists. The half-day camp is for high school students and current Lynchburg students, including incoming first-years, transfers, and Access (nontraditional-age) students.
“The heart of art truly lives within diversity, and we intend to explore poetry, fantasy, and creative nonfiction,” said Jer Bryant ’03, ’10 MA, who serves as the Wilmer Writing Center director, an English professor, and interfaith chaplain at Lynchburg.
Heart of the Art also is “a wonderful opportunity to explore the beautiful campus of the University of Lynchburg,” he added.
Bryant will co-host the event with author and fellow English professor Dr. Kelly Ann Jacobson, who writes queer young adult fiction and is involved in the University’s queer affinity group.
The 3.5-hour event kicks off at 8:45 a.m. and features two concurrent workshops hosted by Bryant and Jacobson from 9-10 a.m. and again from 10:15-11:15 a.m.
Bryant’s session is titled “The Eye of Diversity: How Writers of Creative Nonfiction Celebrate Uniqueness.” Jacobson’s session is “Speculative Fiction Prompts for Writing Diverse Stories.”
The workshops culminate in a one-hour lunch discussion followed by an optional tour of campus at 12:30 p.m.
Bryant said he was inspired to pitch the idea for Heart of the Art after experiencing a similar camp at West Virginia Wesleyan University, where he earned his MFA.
“I was very impressed with what I saw,” he said. “It’s my hope to create an inclusive and artistic environment for young people in the Lynchburg area, particularly those considering the University of Lynchburg for their college experience.”
Jacobson agreed, adding she wants to “make it clear that the University of Lynchburg is a safe space for diverse students.”