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Brown and Students Present at 8th Annual Literary Symposium

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Lee University’s Alpha Beta Iota chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta international English honors society recently held its 18th annual Literary Symposium, providing English students from Lee’s Language and Literature Department the opportunity to present critical and creative work.

“We run this event to celebrate our students’ work over the last year or so,” said Dr. Chad Schrock, associate professor of English at Lee. “We want them to hear each other and be proud of each other. It’s one of the most meaningful community events in our department. Year after year I hear about people who ‘find their voice,’ their confidence, some sense of mission at the symposium.”

Nineteen students presented at the event, reading a variety of works, both analytical and creative. Analytical topics included examinations of works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Byron, Arthur Miller, Marilynne Robinson, William Shakespeare, and William Wordsworth. Creative works included poetry, short fiction, novel excerpts, and creative nonfiction.

“This was a first-time experience for me to present a piece that I had written,” said Hannah Hicks, a senior English writing major. “It was a welcoming environment that allowed me to gain experience for writing conferences and to feel confident in what I had done.”

In addition to the student readings, Dr. Kevin Brown, former professor of English at Lee, was the plenary speaker. In his address, “But I’m Not Supposed to Be Here,” Brown discussed performativity, imposter syndrome, and other difficult obstacles in a writer’s life. Imposter syndrome is a feeling of incompetence and self-doubt many creatives face.

“It was great to come back to Lee and see former colleagues and students continuing to do great work,” said Brown. “The symposium was always one of my favorite Sigma Tau Delta events when I was a professor at Lee, so I was glad to be a part of this year’s event. I look forward to seeing what the department and, more importantly, this group of students will achieve after they graduate with the education the Language and Literature Department provides.”

Brown currently teaches English at Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee, after serving at Lee for 19 years. He has more than 25 years of teaching at the high school and college level. He has published three books of poetry, including “Liturgical Calendar: Poems” (Wipf and Stock), “Exit Lines,” (Plain View Press), and “A Lexicon of Lost Words” (Snake Nation Press), which won the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry. He also published a memoir, “Another Way : Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again,” and a book of scholarship, “They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels.”

Brown received his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Mississippi and his Master of Arts in English from East Tennessee State University. He also has a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Murray State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Milligan College.

Presenters also gathered for breakfast prior to their readings and rejoined later for Brown’s address and lunch to close out the symposium.

“We’re thankful to have Dr. Brown return to speak after his departure this summer,” said Schrock. “It’s a lovely way for our community to say goodbye to him more thoroughly and meaningfully, and to say hello again.”

Schrock serves as a faculty sponsor for Lee’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and organized the symposium.

For more information about Sigma Tau Delta, visit https://www.english.org/.

For more information about Lee’s Department of Language and Literature, visit leeuniversity.edu/academics/arts-sciences/lang-lit/ or call (423) 614-8210.

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