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Award-winning authors with ties to Oklahoma, along with regional, published and emerging authors/writers, will read from their works Thursday through Saturday [APRIL 3-5] at East Central University.

Featured authors in ECU's third annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival will be Dayna Dunbar, Phil Heldrich and Diane Glancy. More than 50 authors and writers from Texas to Minnesota, Washington and Arizona will read from their novels, poetry, essays and other works. All sessions are free and open to the public.

"We wanted to put together an event where writers could come together and read," said Dr. Ken Hada, associate professor of English and languages at ECU. "We focus on creative writing by letting authors read their short stories and poems, and their work speaks for itself. 

"Over a three-day period it becomes very inspiring," he said. It's a great way to celebrate creativity."

The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival also includes the Darryl Fisher High School Creative Writing Contest. The winners will receive cash prizes for poetry and short fiction at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center.

Following the presentation, Dayna Dunbar, a native Oklahoman, will read from her first novel, "The Saints and Sinners of Okay County," set in her hometown of Yukon, and its sequel, "The Wings that Fly Us Home."

Dunbar, who lives in Sedona, Ariz., studied media communications at a college in New Mexico but a discouraging teacher led her to believe she would never succeed as a writer. As part of a master's degree program in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica, she wrote her first novel about a woman who overcomes her self-doubt and shame to follow her own inner voice and find her authentic self. The book, which was published shortly after her graduation, was named the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma Book of 2006.

Phil Heldrich is the author of two award-winning books, "Out Here in the Out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives," which won the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Creative Nonfiction, and "Good Friday," winner of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. He will read from both books at 11 a.m. Friday in the Estep Multimedia Center.

His fiction, literary criticism and reviews have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He holds a doctorate in English literature from Oklahoma State University and is an associate professor at the University of Washington in Tacoma.

Heldrich also directs the Southwest/Texas Popular and American Culture Associations, and for seven years directed the Bluestem Press which sponsors the nationally acclaimed Bluestem Poetry Award.

Diane Glancy will read from "Asylum in the Grasslands" and "Pushing the Bear," a novel of the Trail of Tears, at the 6:30 p.m. session Friday in the Estep Multimedia Center. She has taught at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Since 1988.

Her poetry, scripts, essays and fiction have earned her numerous literary prizes including an American Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, the Native American Prose Award and a Sundance Screenwriting Fellowship.

Glancy was an artist in residence for the State Arts Council of Oklahoma from 1980 to 1986, traveling the state to teach writing, oral communication and critical thinking. She earned a master's degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and received UCO's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

"The sessions are set up to where someone can come and listen for an hour or two and then come back the next day to a different session," Hada said.

Other writers will read their works in sessions in the Estep Center throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Concurrent sessions will be held on Friday and Saturday in Estep Center and the North Lounge in the Memorial Student Union. Saturday's sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 12:45 p.m.

For more information, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 or go to for a complete schedule of the readers.

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