From Feb. 12-14, writers from all over the area gathered to celebrate and hone their craft at the Windhover Writers’ Festival. Hosted by the literary journal The Windhover, this annual gathering at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) brings writers of all different skill levels together to attend workshops, lectures and readings of works by fellow writers.
This year, the festival boasted the talents of writers like Diane Glancy, Joshua Hren and Al Haley and the band Still on the Hill.
This festival has been around for many years. English Professor and Director of the festival Nathaniel Hansen speculates that the festival began around 1997 along with the literary journal as more of a writing retreat.
“People would come and take a longer class with the writers for a couple of hours with a more substantial cost,” Hansen said.
Since then, the festival has become more cost-efficient and open to the public.
For Bell county residents, it is unlikely that they will have the opportunity to experience an event such as this near home.
“There are writing conferences all over the country…but we’re distinctive in the sense of where we are and the fact that we…bring writers of Christian faith,” Hansen said.
Being Christian is not required of writers who want to attend the festival.
“It’s not as though people have to fill out some statement of belief. This is an event where people will talk about faith and will write about faith in various ways. That is welcomed and celebrated,” Hansen said.
Hansen is not concerned about the number of people attending but instead the quality of the festival. When asked about the future of it, he expressed his desire to make the festival better, not bigger.
“I’m always tweaking things,” Hansen said. “I just want to keep making it better. That would be my ultimate goal.”
The festival has been a hit, not just among established authors, but also inspiring ambitious writers like UMHB student Miracle Gant.
“I think what I always like most about going to the festival is that it’s a reminder that writing is a living art…talking to other writers, learning things and forming connections reminds me that I’m part of a bigger, breathing art form,” Gant said.
The Windhover Writers’ Festival is here to stay and engage the established and aspiring writers of Bell county every year.