UMF to celebrate Creative Writing Day with presentations by Maine Poet Laureate Wes McNair and notable alumni, March 22

FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington will celebrate Creative Writing Day by bringing notable creative writing alumni and Wes McNair, Poet Laureate of Maine and UMF Professor Emeritus, back to campus to recognize their achievements and share their work.

All events are free and open to the public and will be held on Saturday, March 22, in North Dining Hall in UMF’s Olsen Student Center.

On that day, five creative writing graduates will share their thoughts on their career paths with a panel discussion at 2 p.m. Participants include: Peter Biello, class of 2005 and producer at Vermont Public Radio; David DiSarro, class of 2003 and director of writing center and faculty member at Endicott College; Patricia Patterson King, class of 2000 and director of marketing and public relations at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital; Meg Reid, class of 2008 and assistant director of Hub City Writers Project and Lindsay Tice, class of 1998, reporter for the Sun Journal and 2013 Maine Journalist of the Year.

Poet Laureate of Maine since 2011 and former director of the UMF Creative Writing Program, McNair will be joined by creative writing graduates as they read from their work at 7:30 p.m. Returning UMF graduates and authors include: Jacques Rancourt, class of 2009 and Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellow at Stanford University; Tryfon Tolides, class of 2001 and author of “An Almost Pure Empty Walking”; and Jan Elizabeth Watson, class of 1995 and author of “Asta in the Wings.”

“Two of the strongest skills students take away from the creative writing program are the ability to write well and the ability to work with others in a supportive community,” said Patricia O’Donnell, UMF professor of English and director of the creative writing program. “These skills are highly valued in any profession, as evidenced by the wide range of positions our graduates hold.”

According to a 2013 survey of employer priorities for college learning conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities by Hart Research Associates, more than three in four employers surveyed stress the importance of written and oral communication on college students’ ability to succeed in today’s economy.

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