LITFest Begins Tuesday

Tuesday marks the launch of LITFest, the University’s inaugural literary festival, which seeks to both teach various components of the writing craft as well as bring together members of the community to celebrate literature at Harvard.

Events during the three-day festival include panel discussions about pursuing careers in writing and publishing led by recent Harvard graduates, as well as events with acclaimed authors, like Jamaica Kincaid.

A range of interactive workshops and readings will allow participants to practice various types and elements of writing, including spoken word poetry and the use of metaphor.

During each day of LITFest, Cambridge Historical Tours will give literary walking tours of Harvard Square. Guides will recount the lives of literary notables who lived in Cambridge and attended Harvard, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and J. Michael Crichton ’64.

LITFest is the brainchild of Greg Harris, an adjunct lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, who serves as co-director of the festival with Bret A. Johnston, director of creative writing at Harvard. Harris said he was driven in part by the enthusiasm for the Harvard Writers at Work lecture series, which he helped start in 2009.

I kept feeling like there has to be a way for the amazing number of great writers and strong writing programs at Harvard to get together and build something that would invite more people in, be more accessible, and connect all of these different organizations,” Harris said.

Sarah E. Zeiser, assistant director of LITFest, said that Harvard lacked a dedicated event to celebrate the individual and communal accomplishments of the faculty and student writers at Harvard.

“LITFest hopes to be for the literary arts what Arts First is for the performative arts: a platform for the celebration of the arts in all forms at Harvard as part of the new scene on campus in which the arts are given a central place in both our curricular and extracurricular lives,” Zeiser wrote in an email.

The festival is produced by the Harvard English Department, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, Harvard Writers at Work, and the Office for the Arts at Harvard. It is also sponsored by numerous student organizations, such as the Harvard Advocate and Tuesday Magazine.

The festival should be useful for students as both a celebration and an exploration,” Harris said.

—Staff writer Indrani G. Das can be reached at idas@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @IndraniGDas.

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