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Welcome to the 2017 William A. Fry Undergraduate Conference on Literature and Writing!

March 2 – 4, 2017


The Taylor University Department of English invites enrolled undergraduates at any college or university to submit scholarly papers or creative writing (fiction, poetry, or CNF) for presentation at the Making Literature Conference. We encourage a wide variety of work; see the schedules of the 2013 and 2015 conferences for paper titles and topics we’ve recently accepted.

Although we host keynote speakers and a book fair, Making Literature is first and foremost an undergraduate conference. Student presentations are truly the center of the event.

Conference participants have a unique opportunity to present their work alongside peers from diverse institutions; attend keynote addresses from well-published writers and scholars; and make connections with literary journals, graduate programs, publishers, and others at the book fair.

To submit, visit:

Submission deadline:
January 25, 2017

Submission decisions will be sent out in early February at the latest.

$250.00 for best critical essay
$250.00 for best creative writing

Conference cost:
$75.00 (payable at the registration website)

Limited free on-campus housing is available for students.
Best Western, Holiday Inn, and other lodging is available four miles from campus.


Please send any questions to:
2017 Keynotes

TOM NOYES (fiction)

tom-noyes-1  comebyhere

BA, Houghton College
MFA, Wichita State University
PhD, Ohio University

Tom Noyes’ most recent book, Come by Here: A Novella and Stories, won the 2013 Autumn House Prize in Fiction and a gold medal from the Independent Publishers Awards. He is the author of two other story collections, Spooky Action at a Distance and Other Stories (Dufour, 2008) and Behold Faith and Other Stories (Dufour, 2003), the latter of which was shortlisted for Stanford Libraries’ William Saroyan Award. His stories have appeared in such journals as American Literary Review, Ascent, Colorado Review, Image, Mid-American Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, and Sycamore Review, and he’s been awarded grants from Pennsylvania’s Council on the Arts and The Sustainability Arts Foundation.

He chairs the BFA program in creative writing at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where he also serves as Assistant Director of the Humanities and as consulting editor for the literary magazine Lake Effect.


JESSICA MESMAN GRIFFITH (creative nonfiction)

love-and-salt  jessica-mesman-griffith

BA, Louisiana State University
MFA, University of Pittsburgh

Jessica Mesman Griffith is the author, with Amy Andrews, of Love & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters, which won the 2014 Christopher Award. She is also author of Grace Filled Days (Loyola Press, 2016) and co-author of Daily Inspiration for Women (Loyola Press, 2014). She’s currently at work on a memoir called Eden Isles. Her book with her Sick Pilgrim co-founder, Jonathan Ryan, is forthcoming in 2017. Her work has appeared in Image, America, Christianity Today, and Notre Dame Magazine, among many others. She has recently spoken at the Festival of Faith and Writing, AWP, the Neiman Conference for Narrative Journalism at Harvard University, and on NPR’s Interfaith Voices.

As an MFA student at the University of Pittsburgh, she was managing editor of Creative Nonfiction, then completed a post-graduate Fellowship in the Erasmus Institute for Spiritual Autobiography at the University of Notre Dame. A native of Slidell, Louisiana, she lives in northern Michigan with her husband, the writer David Griffith, and their two children.


DAVID GRIFFITH (creative nonfiction)

dave-1  good-war

BA, University of Notre Dame
MFA, University of Pittsburgh

David Griffith is Director of Creative Writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and is at work on a new manuscript called Pyramid Scheme: Making Art and Being Broke in America.

His essays and reviews have appeared in the Utne Reader, The Normal School, Image, Creative Nonfiction, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Mammoth, and many others, as well as in US and international anthologies. He lives in northern Michigan with his wife, the writer Jessica Mesman Griffith, and their two children.


GRACE TIFFANY (literary scholarship/fiction)

father-had-a-daughter  grace-1  pilgrim

BA, Duke University
MA, PhD, University of Notre Dame

Grace Tiffany has taught Shakespeare and Renaissance literature at Fordham University, the University of New Orleans, and now at Western Michigan University. Her work has appeared in Shakespeare Studies, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, The Renaissance Quarterly, Comparative Drama, Christianity and Literature, and Renascence, among many others. In 2007, she received a College of Arts and Sciences award for her research and creative activity. She received a distinguished teaching award from WMU in 2010.

In addition to books of Shakespeare scholarship, she is the author of multiple novels set in the Renaissance or Middle Ages, including Will (Berkley 2004), My Father Had a Daughter (Berkley, 2003), Ariel (HarperCollins, 2005), The Turquoise Ring (Berkley, 2005), Paint (Bagwyn Books, 2013), and Gunpowder Percy (Bagwyn Books, 2016). My Father Had a Daughter appeared on the Booksense independent bookstores’ best books list. Ariel was listed as a best book by the National Library Association in 2006. The Turquoise Ring is a retelling of The Merchant of Venice from the perspective of the five women in the play.



shari  harmonist

BA, Goshen College
MFA, Indiana University

Shari Wagner is the Poet Laureate of Indiana for 2016-17. She is the author of The Harmonist at Nightfall: Poems of Indiana (Bottom Dog Press, 2013) and Evening Chore (Cascadia, 2005); co-author with her father of Making the Rounds: Memoirs of a Small-Town Doctor and A Hundred Camels: A Mission Doctor’s Murder Trial and Sojourn in Somalia; and editor of Returning: Stories from the Indianapolis Senior Center. Her poems and essays have appeared on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry, and in North American Review, Shenandoah, The Christian Century, Black Warrior Review, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many others.

She teaches writing at universities, grade schools, retirement homes, the Indiana Writers Center, and at Butler University’s Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar. Her Poet Laureate website is Through the Sycamores.



—Amy Peterson Reading, Signing, and Book Launch—

amy  amy-book

Amy Peterson teaches a variety of courses and works with the Honors program at Taylor University. Amy taught ESL in Southeast Asia before returning stateside to teach in California, Arkansas, and Washington. She has written for Books & Culture, Christianity Today, The Other Journal, Comment Magazine, The Cresset, The Living Church, and Art House America, among others. She holds a BA in English Literature from Texas A&M and an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and is currently completing her MFA at Seattle Pacific University.

At the Making Literature Conference, Amy will launch her memoir Dangerous Territory (Discovery House), which is available for pre-order now.


—A Tribute to Brett Foster—

Wheaton College Website Photos/ English Literature Department Faculty (Brett Foster), August 31, 2010

In 2015, we lost a dear friend and beloved member of the art-and-faith and Christian higher ed communities: poet, scholar, and Wheaton College professor Brett Foster. He was only 42. His legacy will be celebrated at Making Literature 2017, led by Professor David Wright of Monmouth College. Further details to come.


—The Book Fair—

Making Literature is proud to announce that the 2017 Book Fair, featuring literary journals, publishers, and graduate programs, will be anchored by Eighth Day Books. Eighth Day will carry titles by our keynote speakers, as well as their usual stellar selection.


If you’re not familiar with the iconic bookstore, here is an intriguing introduction from their website:

From the beginning, we have not been a typical independent bookstore; we eschew the trendy, and do not carry books solely based on their salability. Instead, we’re selective, offering an eccentric community of books based on this organizing principle: if a book—be it literary, scientific, historical, or theological—sheds light on ultimate questions in an excellent way, then it’s a worthy candidate for inclusion in our catalog.

Reality doesn’t divide itself into “religious” and “literary” and “secular” spheres, so we don’t either. We’re convinced that all truths are related and every truth, if we pay attention rightly, directs our gaze toward God. One of our customers found us “eclectic but orthodox.” We like that.

For more about Eighth Day and proprietor Warren Farha, read Lauren Winner’s recap in Books & Culture, or the profile of Warren and the store in the New York Times.

All other book fair guests will be announced as soon as plans are finalized.


Join us at Making Literature 2017!


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