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English professor wants to revive FAMU literary guild, bring student writers together

By Nolan McCaskill
On September 18, 2013

An assistant professor of English is attempting to corral students from all majors at Florida A&M who share a single passion: writing.

Kendra Bryant has been tasked with re-establishing the English Literary Guild as a major organization on campus. Even within the English department, however, students are unaware of what the guild is, what it does or that it even exists at FAMU.

“It’s an organization open to all students on campus, whether they be grad students or undergrad students, interested in broadening their horizons pertaining to the English discipline and what it means to study and appreciate and be involved in literary arts,” said Bryant, who also described it as a forum for students to discuss literature without the stress of being graded or criticized.

Yakini Kemp, chair of the department of English and modern languages, said the guild has been active the past few years but not consistently. So she appointed Bryant to advise the group.

“She has a lot of interesting ideas, and her style of writing and teaching, I call it ‘zen’ – zen writing,” Kemp said. “That’s what she believes in, and I think that’ll be good for the students because they will have a young, energetic adviser who is willing to do some innovative activities.“

Bryant said most English departments throughout the country have English lit guilds, which are no different than a business school having a business club. She has been visiting classes to pique the interest of students.

“They seem very excited, very interested,” Bryant said.

Maegan Edwards, a junior English student from Jacksonville, said she believes Bryant will have a great influence on the organization.

“She will make people want to be in it,” Edwards said. “She will create a higher interest in reading for all kinds of students.”

Bryant’s immediate goals include getting the group certified through the Office of Student

Activities and establishing an e-board, as well as an active group of members.

Eventually, she wants the English Lit Guild to sponsor “slightly informal” fall and spring colloquiums where students can present papers. She also wants to establish a book club and a creative writing circle, but she does not want to make all the decisions.

“I’m hoping that on Friday students come with their ideas and that we can work toward implementing that,” she said. “As long as you’re a student at FAMU in good academic standing, you are eligible to be a member of the English Lit Guild.”

The English Lit Guild will hold its first meeting Friday in Tucker Hall inside the Writing Resource Center, room 124, at 4:30 p.m.

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