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A Night with Sir Ervin Williams

by Jenalyn Reyes

Blackburn invited Sir Ervin Williams to lead a virtual writing lab on the night of Feb. 18. The event was coordinated by Rita Reinhardt, Director of Career Services, and Kyle Brown, Graduate Assistant for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, as part of celebrating Black History Month. The writing lab was held through Zoom, and about 20 people attended.

For an hour and a half, Williams gave a presentation on what writing should be and how to organize a writing process for oneself. The presentation included several questions that were meant to guide writers in establishing why they want to write and what they wish to accomplish. He focused on instilling confidence so that writers can overcome obstacles that may prevent them from starting on projects.

“The writing lab was an excellent workshop to attend, especially if you have never been in an organized or monitored space that encourages writing,” said Reinhardt. “I think ultimately, this was an experience that encouraged participants to be themselves and to delve into writing.”

“Sir Ervin really let his personality shine through during the writing lab and it definitely helped me remember why I liked writing for fun so much in high school,” Brown said. “I’m so very thankful to have had the opportunity to bring Sir Ervin to Blackburn for a virtual event and I’m glad that we were able to showcase his creative voice and talents for our community to hear.”

“I had a good time. I don’t typically go to many Blackburn events, but I wanted to get back into the ring of things when it comes to creative writing,” said senior graphic design major Annamarie Cosenza. “I would definitely recommend going to these events in the future. I think it is very beneficial.”

Overall, the writing lab seemed to be a success. Williams gave a lot of good advice and insights about the writing process and also allowed attendees time to participate in a fun writing exercise. Afterward, participants were also able to read their work aloud to the group. The event ended with Williams performing his poem “I Stand” from memory, which attendees greatly enjoyed.

“As we are charging forward into a ‘post-pandemic’ society, it has been important for us to still create and execute programming that inspires students. The virtual writer’s lab was as close as we could get to simulating a writer’s circle without being physically on campus,” Reinhardt said. “I am proud of the work that was completed last night and I hope that we can bring many more guest speakers to campus.”


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