5Cs Writing Collective to Host Bigger and Better April Out Loud

April Out Loud is a month-long series of events and workshops organized by the creative writing collective 5Cs Out Loud. The month-long extravaganza began two years ago, and is now an annual feature put on by the organization.

This year, the club has much grander plans for April Out Loud than in previous years. 5Cs Out Loud (5COL) has planned six events, some in collaborations with other groups at the 5Cs. According to Christina Bejjani PO ’13, a leader of 5COL, events this year will be “bigger and better.” In the past, the series consisted of 5COL-run writing workshops and did not include outside speakers or performers, as it will this year.

“Last year it was just students, and we didn’t invite any outside speakers. However it was still very popular. A lot of kids came and performed their own pieces and we are hoping for a lot of student-based participation this year too,” Loren Hinton PO '13 said.

This year’s April Out Loud will still hold student workshops, but will also bring prominent spoken word performers, a young adult fiction author, a review editor and professors from the 5Cs and other colleges.

April Out Loud will kick off April 7 with Crafternoon, an event that 5COL is co-hosting with the Queer Resource Center (QRC). Participants with the QRC will be making crafts and participants with 5COL will write a story inspired by the crafts. 5COL predicts that the event will be experimental.

“We plan to ‘piggy back’ off each other and perhaps try to write a story inspired by an art piece and vice versa,” Hinton said. “We are just trying that out and it seems pretty fun.”

The second April Out Loud event April 10 is a PSU debate titled “College Writing’s Relevance in the Real World: Fact or Fiction?” Bejjani said that they were co-hosting the debate with the CMC and Pomona Writing Centers and the ASPC. The debate has a remarkable list of speakers, including Pamela Bromley, Director of the Pomona College Writing Center, M.G. Lord, Professor of the USC Dornsife School of Professional Writing, Matthew Specktor, author and senior editor of the L.A. Review of Books and Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege and author of upcoming novel, Hack Your Education.

“We are discussing whether or not the writing we learn in school is actually useful outside of the academic field,” Hinton said. “I’m curious to see what everyone has to say about the topic.”

After the debate, the club has a series of workshops followed by an open-mic event.

“We start our workshops on the 18th, Wednesday, with Professor Arden Reed’s (Pomona College) workshops called ‘Writing Essays = Creative Writing,’ which is about how writing an essay is also like creative writing,” Hinton said.

Next, there will be a novel-writing workshop titled 'Creating a Killer Plot with Author Shannon Messenger.' Messenger is a debut author whose first book will be published in October and whose second book—a young adult novel—will be published in the spring of 2013, according to Hinton.

The novel writing workshop will be followed by a poetry workshop conducted by Pomona Professor of English Claudia Rankine.

Bejjani expressed excitement about including hosting professor-led workshops.

“That we have English professors wanting to lead workshops is bigger than last year too. We get to interact with professors in a different way, since it’s a not the same environment as being in class,” she said.

April Out Loud will culminate in ‘Wordfest,’ an open-mic event. The event has been highly popular in the past and this year the club expects a better turnout because slam poets Conney Williams and Jerry Quickley will also be performing.

“Jerry Quickley is hilarious, and we are really excited to have him. Both of them are really good and prominent in the national poetry slam circuit,” Hinton said.

The group hopes to reach a wide audience this year and get students from all 5Cs involved, Hinton said.

5COL aims to connect student writers, as there are currently few avenues for creative writing on the campuses.

“I know that there are a lot of people who like to do creative writing on the side, and we just wanted to make a space for them to come together and find company” Hinton said.

Both Hinton and Bejjani believe that connecting writers with other writers improves one’s own writing.

“You learn a lot of different ways to look at things, and to approach writing in newer, exciting ways,” Bejjani said. “Other writers can tell you the impact own your writing makes on them. This is something that you can’t really see yourself, and can be invaluable as a writer.”