Monday, October 20, 2014

The 2015 Press Release

The tenth annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, featuring Darrell Bourque, Heid E. Erdrich, Steven Schroeder, and Mary Kay Zuravleff, in addition to more than 50 author presentations from Oklahoma and beyond, is April 2 - 4, 2015, on the campus of East Central University in Ada, Okla. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie by Louisiana’s Poet Laureate (2007-2011) Darrell Bourque is a reflection of contemporary life in Acadiana in Louisiana and is a story of the legends of the journey of the Acadians from the Canadian Maritimes and the various ways they made their way to Louisiana. The poems offer personal revelations in the wake of illness and death of loved ones. They open the minds and spirits of great artists from Van Gogh to Elemore Morgan Jr., and most importantly, these poems give real voice to historical figures. 

Bourque grew up in Church Point, Louisiana. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Bourque completed his doctoral degree from Florida State University. He is professor emeritus in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he served as the first Friends of the Humanities Honor Professor.
Heid E. Erdrich is an author of four poetry collections, with the most recent being Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. She is the recipient of awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board and First People’s Fund, to name a few. She is a 2013 Artist of the Year honoree from City Pages Minneapolis. 

Erdrich completed her education from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, Dartmouth College and John Hopkins Writing Seminars. She also designed her own doctoral program. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is a member of the Ojibwe Tribe. She routinely works with galleries to present exhibits focused on Native American artists and is the director of the Wiigwaas Press, an Ojibwe language publisher. Erdrich currently lives in Minnesota.

Steven Schroeder is a poet and visual artist who has published 12 books of poems, short stories and art. He grew up in the Texas Panhandle, has taught at the University of Chicago Graham School and received his Ph.D. in Ethics and Society from the University of Chicago. He has also taught in China, and much of his poetry is influenced by his time there.

Schroeder states that emptiness plays an important role in his poetry and painting, by focusing on what is not there as much as what is. He hopes readers and viewers are able to see more in his work than what it contains. Schroeder’s most recent work, mind the gaps: fragments, is exemplary of his philosophy.

Mary Kay Zuravleff is a novelist and short story writer who grew up in Oklahoma City. She has published three novels including her latest work, Man Alive!, which was named a 2013 Washington Post Notable Book. Her two earlier novels, The Bowl is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls, won the American Academy’s Rosenthal Award and the James Jones First Novel Award. Her first novel was also a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. She is a five-time winner of a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship. 

Zuravleff earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has taught writing at American University, Johns Hopkins University and George Mason University. Zuravleff lives in Washington, D.C. and is the cofounder of D.C. Women Writers. 

The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2pm. on Saturday. Each day is broken into several sessions. A complete schedule of readers will be posted on this website.

The Darryl Fisher High School Creative Writing Contest winners will also be awarded during the festival. The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council. For more information, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557.

2015 Submission Guidelines

10th Annual Scissortail Festival, April 2-4, 2015

Due to the increased popularity of the festival, the competition for a place on the program is keen. Obviously there is a limited amount of time and space available, and unfortunately, not all submissions can be accepted. Selections to the program are accepted or rejected by a committee of ECU personnel on the basis of:

Quality, Published Work (peer-reviewed journals, for example)
Freshness of Material (reading some new stuff)
Appropriateness in Subject Matter and Time Restraints (fitting into the Festival)
Meeting the Deadline
Perceived Ability to happily join in a celebratory, festival atmosphere.

If your submission is not accepted for the main program this year, we sincerely hope you will not be discouraged. We hope you will continue your writing efforts with even greater vigor, and we invite you to attend the festival to gain the benefit of reading, listening and interacting with the audience of writers, participate in events that may occur during the festival.

Even if you have been on the program in the past, please review the following guidelines before submitting (if the number of submissions warrant, we will move to 15 minutes per presenter instead of 20 minutes, as has been our tradition; and fiction writers are encouraged to excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a story may in fact be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt).

A showcase of Oklahoma creative writing, the Scissortail Festival welcomes submissions from creative writers in Oklahoma and across the country. In addition to feature authors (highlighted on the flyer and press release) the festival celebrates published, established and emerging authors reading original poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

Guidelines: Please read closely and follow exactly. Please look at your calendar before submitting! Due to the increasing popularity of the festival, it is very difficult to accommodate special scheduling requests. Please do not ask. Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.


Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable.

Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors should plan for either 15 or 20 minutes total time at the mic (including prose) depending on how the session is scheduled. In other words, some readers will get 15 minutes, and some will get 20 minutes. Please respect your audience and fellow readers and follow your allotted time diligently.

Email submissions are encouraged. Submit: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and sample/s of work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader

3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is January 5, 2015. The schedule will be announced by February.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line. (It is also a good idea to copy your submission to (since email sometimes goes into the spam folder). If you prefer, you may send submissions to: Dr. Ken Hada, Department of English & Languages, East Central University, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820.

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees. Please subscribe by email at in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted at that site.