The StoryAre you a writer? Did you know that Enid has its very own Writer’s Club? Well folks, it’s true.  Recently, I was able to ask one of the presenters, author Dr. Shawn Holliday a few fun questions about this upcoming event that will be held on March 1 from 10-4 at the Gantz Center at NOC.


I am told that you are the Interim Chair for the English, Foreign Language, and Humanities Department, will you help me with my homework? I’m suppose to be writing an essay on nineteenth century Romanticism at the moment, do you have any words of advice for me? 

I don’t know if this will help, but I’ve always thought of Thoreau as Emerson’s toadie. That might make for an interesting paper topic. (By the way, I’m also the Associate Dean of graduate Studies at NWOSU).


I will definitely take that into consideration, thank you!  Writing is a creative outlet, especially for people in high pressure jobs. What are your thoughts?

Even though I’m more of a scholarly writer than a “creative” one, even this type of writing can provide a creative outlet. Although NWOSU is more of a teaching university than a research one, I conduct research and write on the weekends to give myself a creative outlet. I would be lost without this. My day-to-day work involves a lot of mundane duties: meetings, reports, paperwork, etc. Writing helps to relieve the stress of work life. I’ve never understood professors who didn’t want to research or write. What’s the point of being a professor, then? Research, writing, and higher level teaching is what differentiates professors from high school teachers.


What is the most ridiculous excuse a student has given you for turning in an assignment late?

Even though this happened almost fifteen years ago, I still remember the incident. I was a graduate student and teaching assistant in Pennsylvania, and one of my students skipped class when an assignment was due. Later that night, I saw her at the local mini-mart, all dressed up to party. She came up to me and said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t in class to turn my paper in, but when I woke up this morning I literally couldn’t move.” I responded, “couldn’t move?” and she said “yes, couldn’t move; I feel better now though.” I didn’t let on, but I thought that was hilarious. I guess she felt the need to make up some excuse. We’re friends today on Facebook. She is a program producer for KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. I’m glad to see that she is no longer afflicted with this illness.


I will have to keep that excuse in mind. I mean, not that I ever turn in papers late or anything.  Anyway, you are currently working on a manuscript for Mongrel Empire Press, what can you tell us about this project?

I am putting together a book on the Oklahoma Poets Laureate. Entitled The Oklahoma Poets Laureate: A History, Sourcebook, and Anthology, it will include an introduction that covers the history of the position since its inception in 1923 followed by brief biographies of each laureate with a list of primary and secondary sources where readers can learn more. The book will also include 5-10 poems by each poet if I can secure all of the appropriate permissions. I’m surprised that it took a West Virginian (me) to think to put this together. It says a lot about the lack of appreciation for literature in the state.


How will you contribute to the Enid Writer’s Club seminar? 

I will be discussing (auto)biographical and life writing. I have written a scholarly book on novelist Thomas Wolfe (who wrote autobiographical fiction), have published a short critical biography on former Oregon poet laureate Lawson Fusao Inada, and am writing biographical sketches of Oklahoma’s poets laureate in my forthcoming book. Hopefully, these experiences will allow me to discuss biographical writing with some insight.


In a sentence, what advice would you give to a writer who wants to take their writing to the next level?

Write every day, believe in yourself, and never take “no” for an answer.


Thank you so much for your time today. For more information about the Enid Writer’s Club please visit their website:


Itinerary for “The Story” A Craft of Writing Seminar:

The Story rough schedule

Saturday, March 1, 2014  Conference Rooms A-C, Gantz Student Center Campus of Northern Oklahoma College

(Registration/coffee hour opens at 9) 10am-4pm, Enid, OK


Registration/Coffee hour:  9:00 am


10:00am  Opening Seminar:   

The Art of Story

Insights on story by each of our featured guests


11:00am First session:

ROOM A:  “We all sat in the front row without a book to our name”

by Dusty Richards


ROOM C:  “Poetic Rhythms”

by Marsha Kay Oldham

Room B will host book sales and a small-group chat will be down the hall


(12:00 Catered Lunch)  


1:15pm Second session:

ROOM A: “Making Your Fantastical Setting Feel Real”    

by Tara Hudson

ROOM C: “Writing Life: An Approach to Authoring (Auto)Biographies.”

by Shawn Holliday, PhD

Room B will host book sales and an informal author chat will be down the hall



2:15pm Third session:

ROOM A:  “”Characters to Love and Love to Hate”

by Jamie McGuire

ROOM C: “Kiss and Tell: Writing Romance for Today’s Christian Market”

by Darlene Shortridge



3:30pm  Group seminar:

The Relevance of Craft

Panel discussion with visiting authors

(this session will also be free to Chautauqua audiences/participants)


Registration: $30; Half price for students, active duty military and NOC faculty

plus $10 extra for catered lunch

($25 plus lunch if registered by 5pm, Feb. 15)