Lee University welcomed authors Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Katie Carlson, and Chris Hansen for three separate events to continue this year’s Writer’s Series. All events, hosted by Lee’s Department of Language and Literature, took place virtually over Zoom.
Ms. Clapsaddle read multiple chapters from her first novel, “Even as We Breathe.”
“Annette Clapsaddle’s work invites us to reflect on identity, ethnicity, and what she calls ‘the superficial ways in which we categorize and limit our understanding of people,’” said Dr. William Woolfitt, associate professor of creative writing at Lee. “I am grateful for her novel which helps us think about the bits and pieces we are made of and invites us to see that ‘love is the only thing that will outlive us all.’”
Following the reading, Ms. Clapsaddle answered questions from the audience about a variety of subjects, including the book, her writing process, and her life as a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Along with “Even as We Breathe,” Ms. Clapsaddle is the author of a novel manuscript, “Going to Water,” and numerous essays and blog posts. She has been awarded The Morning Star Award for Creative Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium and was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary and is the first from her tribe to publish a novel.
"In discussing the birth of her novel ‘Even As We Breathe,’ Annette Clapsaddle demonstrated a passionate commitment to the labors of editing, reworking, and expertly weaving characters together into her overarching story,” said junior English writing major Eric Van Gorden. “The origins of her novel as a flash fiction about a bone show that time spent writing is truly never wasted, and even the smallest bit of literary effort can give birth to a masterfully-crafted piece."
Dr. Katie Carlson-Eastvold joined a writing class to speak about how to write a book query and secure an agent. Dr. Carlson, a former assistant professor at Lee, now lives in Springfield, Ill., where she teaches online for Lee while working on her writing. Carlson earned her doctorate in 19th-century British literature, her Master of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her Bachelor of Arts from Whitworth University.
"Dr. Carlson’s lecture on finding agents and writing query letters was both engaging and invaluable,” said Merritt Jenkins, a senior English writing major. “Her focus on the less talked about aspects of the life of an author has given me a much greater understanding of what to expect as an aspiring novelist and what I need to do to start preparing for the future. I am grateful for the time she took to share her experience and knowledge with us.”
Chris Hansen, Lee’s 2020 Language and Literature Department Distinguished Alumnus, joined Lee for an interview and a film screening. He spoke about his career path and a few of his films. Now a full professor and the chair of the Film Studies Department at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Mr. Hansen has written and produced several award-winning films including “Blur Circle,” “Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage,” and “Where We Started.” Mr. Hansen earned his Master of Fine Arts and MA from Regent University and his BA from Lee College.
“It was quite enlightening to take part in Mr. Hansen's guest lecture,” said Matthew Taylor, senior English and digital media double major. “It was great to have an opportunity to hear the story of someone who graduated from the same program at Lee that I'm currently in and uses their talents at writing to craft scripts that are then put to screen.”
For more information on Ms. Clapsaddle, visit https://www.asaunookeclapsaddle.com/.
For more information on the Writer’s Series, contact Dr. Woolfitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.