New South Builds Ties and Tradition with First Fridays
Georgia State’s Atlanta campus students may have noticed copies of New South located at various points around campus or being passed out in the plaza at occasional events, such as the National Day on Writing. Free to students and often featuring colorful or eye-catching covers, it is the arts and literature journal produced by a staff of graduate students in the university’s MFA and PhD Creative Writing programs.
This year, the New South staff has worked on catching students’ ears as well, via a monthly reading series.
Along with other students in Georgia State’s Creative Writing programs, New South staff has piloted the monthly First Friday Reading Series. It highlights poetry and fiction from both working writers and students in the program.
On the first Friday of every month, they all gather in an upstairs room at the Midtown coffee shop JavaVino, located a few miles from Georgia State’s Atlanta campus. Most First Friday readings follow a familiar format: A poet or fiction writer from Georgia State’s Creative Writing program begins reading from their own work. Then a visiting writer, often with a newly-published book, will read from their writing of the opposite genre.
(The event) helps build the Creative Writing department’s network by connecting Georgia State students with debut authors. Charis Books & More provides sale copies for each reading, which gives authors additional incentive to come read for us. Eventually, we hope to also host New South contributors as a way to connect them even more with our writing community.
~ Nora Bonner, Ph.D. student (Fiction)
New South has organized readings in the past. Past academic years featured two events exclusively featuring creative writing students: one for incoming students in the Fall semester and another for graduating students in Spring. The staff has worked these events into their First Friday schedule.
These gatherings give participating students the experience of reading their work publicly. For the audience, often largely made up of fellow students, it is their first chance to hear the work of their peers.
It’s been really great to see the level of response to these readings, especially those completely featuring students. More often than not, the room is completely full and people are standing to listen to the work. It’s a great experience on both sides: for writers to get to share their work with others and for audience members to be introduced to work they may not have known about before.
~ Anna Sandy-Elrod, New South Editor in Chief
All Georgia State students are welcome to attend the New South’s First Friday Reading Series. To receive updates on the series and for more information on the journal, students can follow New South on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.