Ball State University’s Department of English partnered with the Honor’s College, Multicultural Center, and the Women’s and Gender Studies program held the In-Print Festival of First Books at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
The event was held over two days, starting March 29. The first day served to introduce the authors and their work. The follow-up on March 30 was time for the audience to ask the panel questions.
It was held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. and was held so students got a better idea of what it's like to be published. The event was organized by the In-Print program Founder Jill Christman, the director of the creative writing program in Ball State’s Department of English.
“It's as if our classrooms and the things that we are working with our students on learning come to life for them,” Christman said.
The overarching theme of the event was diversity, and to that end, the event brought four published authors of color as speakers for the event.
Prince Shakur, the author of “When They Tell You To Be Good,” an autobiographical novel focusing on his life as a queer, Jamaican-American author.
“The central theme is analyzing diasporic masculinity, so looking at black masculinity from my life as someone born and raised in the US, looking at the masculinity of the different men in my family, and just being really critical of that and trying to find a healthier kind of conception of what masculinity can look like,” said Shakur.
In addition to Shakur, was Jasmine Sawers, author of the book “The Anchored World: Flash Fairytales and Folklore.”
“One of my very personal experiences has just been not only to be Asian American but to be mixed and to have grown up in a very, very homogenous white place, and the sort of alienation you feel as a person of color surrounded by white people and white supremacy,” said Sawers.
This year was the 18th time the event had been hosted, and Christman is eager to do it again next year.
“I think that the writers who came are just outstanding. The reading last night was incredible reading in terms of the just wild imaginative fantastic diversity of what we heard,” said Christman.