It’s October, and that means a big part of my job involves the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium. Usually, I would be lining up catering, coordinating with Resources Mangaement on setting up Poindexter Hall, getting a van to shutttle our writers to and from their hotel, sending maps and directions for how to get to campus, coordinating pickups for those arriving by air, etc. This year, everything is different, in case you hadn’t noticed.
The symposium will be held virtually. Despite some people’s rosy picture of the pandemic in the US, we’ve still topped 209,000 dead and 6 million infected. Travel for our authors and our audience would be risky, and we couldn’t even host many people for a live event, so back in August, we made the decision to go completely online. (Initially, we hoped to have some live panels and some virtual, but that proved to be unwieldy and also probably still too unsafe.) So I’m working on setting up Zoom to live-stream to Facebook, instead of ordering petit fours and punch for a reception. Fortunately, we did three virtual residencies over the summer and live-streamed all of our readings and performances, so we got a lot of practice and hopefully worked out all of the kinks.
It will be fun working with authors from all over the country, and it will be fun to make our event open to a larger potential audience. To attend, just go to our Facebook group, where you can see our events and watch each live-streamed to our group’s timeline.