Spring Literary Forum returns for 15th year

Students listen to the engaging panel discussion.
Photo Courtesy: Ja’Caiya Stephens

To recognize their annual event, on Thursday, February 22, the Department of English and Modern Languages at Florida A&M University (FAMU) came to life with the vibrant energy of literature, discussion, and celebration as it hosted its 15th Spring Literary Forum.

The event was a convergence of voices, ideas, and artistic expressions, featuring engaging panels, keynote speakers, and a thought-provoking film screening.

The forum kicked off with a dynamic student panel titled “A Celebration of Voices and the Power ‘to be’ Free.” This panel provided a platform for students to share their diverse perspectives and experiences, highlighting the importance of self-expression and individual freedom in literature and beyond.

Following the student panel, the forum delved into a faculty panel discussion focused on African-American communities. Esteemed faculty members from the department led thought-provoking conversations about the rich cultural heritage, social dynamics, and literary contributions of African American communities.

The students’ impassioned discussions captivated the audience, including the faculty, and set an inspiring tone for the rest of the event.

Faculty such as Dr. Kasja Henry, Assistant Professor from the Department of English and Modern Languages, shared the collective goal of the department’s theme of highlighting black stories and culture.

“This year the goal was to celebrate our stories and our communities. That theme was in full display from the student and faculty panels to the wonderful keynote to the film, showing that all drove home the sense of love, activism, and resiliency that needs to be foundational to the sustainment of black communities,” Henry shared.

A highlight of the forum was the keynote address delivered by Jamila Minnicks, acclaimed author of “Moonrise Over Jessup” (2023). With eloquence and depth, Minnicks captivated the audience as she shared reflections on her literary journey, the themes explored in her work, and the power of storytelling to illuminate the human experience.

Her poignant words resonated deeply with attendees like Larry Charleston, an English and modern languages major with a minor in African American studies, inspiring contemplation and dialogue long after her speech concluded.

“I really enjoyed the forum, but especially Ms. Minnicks’ because I was able to connect with the book,” Charleston shared.

“I believe this experience is good for all students to engage in and learn more about the historical things that are not usually discussed,” Charleston said.

In addition to the enriching panels and keynote address, the forum offered attendees the opportunity to engage with the arts through a screening of “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.” This compelling documentary provided an intimate glimpse into the life and work of renowned poet Nikki Giovanni, offering profound insights into her impact on literature and society.

The 15th Spring Literary Forum was a resounding success, bringing together students, faculty, and community members in celebration of literature, diversity, and creativity. With a goal of reaffirming the enduring power of literature to inspire, challenge, and unite us all, the forum captured the hearts and minds of many.