The Ohio University Program in Creative Writing will host its annual Writers Harvest benefit reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the Baker University Center Theatre. Proceeds from the $5 admission fee will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeastern Ohio.
This year's featured writers are Ohio University faculty members Joan Connor and Erik Ramsey and local writer John Thorndike. The event aims to bring awareness to the issue of poverty in Southeastern Ohio.
"We choose writers who have a strong connection to the local community and a desire to have their work benefit those who are less fortunate," said Kevin Haworth, coordinator of special projects for the English department.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeastern Ohio is one of 196 regional affiliates of Feeding America, which was formerly America's Second Harvest. It distributes surplus food, donated from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, to more than 200 food pantries, soup kitchens and congregate meal sites throughout Athens, Hocking, Perry, Vinton, Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, Morgan and Washington counties. Donations will be accepted at various locations throughout the week.
"Our university is based in a lovely rural area but not everyone sees those benefits directly,” Haworth said. “This is an opportunity to extend the bounty of the university to those outside its immediate reach."
The department is hoping to raise $1,000 from the event, which translates into several hundred meals -- or about two months of nutritious meals for a needy family, Haworth said.
"In the current economic environment, it would be difficult for most of us to write a check for $1,000, but by working together, $5 at a time, we can deliver just that."
Connor, professor of creative writing, is an award-winning author for her collection of short stories, "History Lessons" and her book of essays, "The World Before Mirrors." Two earlier collections of stories she has written are, "We Who Live Apart" and "Here on Old Route 7."
Ramsey is head of the BFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University. His plays have been workshopped and produced around the country, and several of his short works have been published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing. His latest play, "Lions Lost in Translation," has been developed, read and workshopped at numerous regional theaters.
Thorndike is the author of the memoir "The Last of His Mind," published in 2009 by Ohio University/Swallow Press. He is also the author of two novels, "Anna Delaney's Child" and "The Potato Baron," and a previous memoir, "Another Way Home." He lives in Athens, Ohio.