Several talented writers read aloud from their work at the Wordstock festival this past weekend. However, I can safely say that few, if any, were as entertaining and authentic as the WITS student readers. On Sunday morning at the OEA stage, an audience of fifty people watched as the words on the pages of the 2008-2009 WITS Anthology A Whole New Subject came alive.

We’ve all experienced those disappointing events where the writer sounds detached, as though reading from someone else’s book. But these students, including Courtney Bliss (interviewed in this post), Sabrina Ruiz, Talisha Jackson, Christina Boom, Reuben Cottingham, Tessa Bolsover, Miles Shepard, and Elie Hoover, were the real thing. They even gave us a preview of work from the upcoming WITS anthology, Take My Hand, I Want to Show You Something, that will be released in December.

I had read A Whole New Subject prior to the reading, but watching the students not only read, but own their words, was awesome. There were conversations with absent parents, God, past loves, and a sneaky shoe. (And I will never look at a Manwich® sloppy joe the same.) The students were poised and honest, their highly crafted pieces capturing sincere and often raw emotions. In short, they were inspiring, and I’m excited to attend more student readings in the future.