Alumni share readings at Writer’s Weekend

By Austin Wright | Copy Editor

March heralded the Annual Augusta Writer’s Weekend as Augusta University students and faculty presented their creative works as well as hosted numerous workshops.

Notable among these events were Julia Elliott and Jim Minick book signings which were held in University Hall Lobby at four. Also of note was the reading by the university’s very own Karen Gillespie, a professor in the English department, of one of her books that was recently published.

One such event held importance in a different way, the AU Creative Writing Alumni Reading which showcased the talents of prominent creative writing majors who have recently graduated.

Alumni included Jaleesa Mitchell, Calvin Pennywell, Dylan Smeak, Krystal Valentine and Donnie Watson.

Jaleesa has gone on to intern at Launch Media Network, It’s Simple Sharon Notary, and Chocoley, LLC as a content editor and media specialist. She presented a stirring work from the MFA class she is currently attending.

Calvin Pennywell came on afterwards and showcased five short poems illustrating his versatility and lyric talents with boldness. Calvin is currently a featured writer for the Augusta City Rag, a local newspaper as well as being an editor.

Dylan Smeak, currently an instructor at AU, delighted all with a work that he said was recently rejected and confounded everyone why it could have been rejected in the first place. Smeak also is part of the Prison Writing Program at PEN America.

Krystal Valentine presented her own unique poems that evoked the imagination through her short poems. Krystal currently works as a sales coordinator at the Augusta Chronicle as well as pursuing her own writing.

Lastly, Donnie Watson takes the podium to read a piece he had written that was meant to inspire a friend who had been going through a rough time. Recently graduated, Donnie is currently focusing on creative comic pitches.

All attending gave the alumni a standing ovation and best wishes to their future endeavors.

Contact Austin Wright at


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