When Arapahoe Community College writing professor Jamey Trotter began putting together the 2023 Spring Literary Festival on behalf of Writers Studio ACC, he wanted to get the word out. So he took to the streets — literally. With a fistful of fliers, he traversed Littleton’s Main Street and went door to door, asking to post the info where people would see it.
Trotter says he didn’t expect the warm reception he got at most of the businesses, especially Old Towne Tavern, a place he frequents on nights after class for a beer and some wings. He says he went in and asked if they’d put a flier up, despite the fact that he’s never seen a flier posted on the walls. “A lot of writers go to bars,” Trotter told the Tavern’s owner, “and a lot of bars produce writers, or at least good stories. The owner said, ‘Hell, yeah,” and put up not one, but two. The response has been cool.”
Spring Literary Festival takes place on the campus of Arapahoe Community College in Littleton on Saturday, March 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Registration is only $25 for current students at any high school or college, with varying costs for professionals and community members. More details — and a link to register — can be found at the ACC events website. Registration includes a copy of ACC’s Progenitor Art & Literary Journal, as well as both breakfast and lunch, and admission into any and all conference events.
“People are stoked that we’re back in person,” says Trotter, and that’s certainly part of the draw for 2023. The long-established annual event was shelved in 2020 because of the pandemic and took place virtually in 2021 and 2022.
“There’s an importance there,” Trotter says. “While holding it as a virtual conference the past couple of years allowed writers from across the country to join us, there’s nothing like being in a room with the author. You can ask questions during the session and not feel as if you’re creating a major interruption. You break bread with the successful local writers who will be instructing sessions, and during lunch, you’ll hear them read their work, and then you can buy a book from them and have it signed. I find there’s something quite inspirational about attending readings live and in person — double that for the author teaching an aspect of their craft.”
Trotter remarks that he’s particularly proud of the “beautiful array” of local literary voices the event is bringing to the ACC campus — writers who are themselves diverse, and whose work is the same. “They’ll be speaking from experience in a variety of genres,” promises Trotter, “from the personal poem to creative nonfiction to flash fiction. The sessions they’ve created will make it difficult for attendees to make a choice as to which to attend.”
The workshop facilitators include:
D.L. Cordero is a transgender, queer “fantasy author, occasional poet, and horror-dabbler,” according to their website; their work can be found in many outlets, most recently the Denver Noir collection from Akashic Books. Cordero will be discussing “innovative story ideas…from dreams and nightmares.”
Two-Spirit poet Crisosto Apache is originally from the Mescalero Apache reservation in New Mexico, and their latest collection is Ghostword, from Gnashing Teeth. Apache will be discussing how the personal poem helps with structuring — and restructuring — the poetic self.
Leah Rogin-Roper is the co-founder of Fast Forward Press, and has a forthcoming book with Blackwater called Burying Norma Jeane, which uses the collective voice in the form of movie reviews to reflect on the life, death and legacy of Marilyn Monroe. The workshop she’ll lead is of a similar topic: how the use of a modern Greek chorus can “give a slant perspective” on the action of story.
Meca’Ayo is a queer, multi-genre Denver writer who’s just recently out with a memoir called An Identity Polyptych. They’ll be running a session called “Writing What Is and Letting That Go: A Collaborative Poetry Workshop.”
Denver queen of flash fiction Nancy Stohlman rounds out the group of guest writers, bringing her brand-spanking-new book, After the Rapture, to the conference. She’ll be engaging participants interested in developing their own flash-fiction novels, an emerging and breakout genre of storytelling.
“Attendees will learn much from the author-led sessions, sure,” says Trotter. “But they’ll also learn from each other, and hopefully make some new friends in the writing community along the way. This is the reason we end the event with an opportunity to share work in an open-mic fashion: to delight in each other’s creativity and bravery, and to celebrate each other.”
There are no prerequisites for this event; it’s designed to be open and welcoming to participants from any walk of life, age and experience level. “We do this writing thing because we have something to share,” says Trotter. “We want to make it as beautiful, meaningful and significant as possible.”
The Spring Literary Festival by Writers Studio at ACC takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, Littleton Campus, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton. Registration is required and is available at the ACC Lit Fest website.