Writer's Retreat 2018
At the beginning of March, 23 students, 3 professors, and 1 alumna travelled to Portage Lake Bible Camp for a weekend of writing and activities. Held each spring by the English Department, the Bill Vande Kopple Writer's Retreat encourages students — no matter what their major — to pursue and practice writing.
On the two-and-a-half hour ride to the camp, students participated in “chain fiction:” collaborative stories produced by passing legal pads around the bus. The activity prepared attendees for the retreat’s regular writing contests, including competitions for haiku, limericks, 13-word-stories, and worst opening lines.
The weekend also included talks from professors Klatt, Rienstra, and Holcomb on the writing life. Holcomb shared his experiences in professional journalism, Rienstra shared helpful practices for creativity, and Klatt led a workshop on cultivating inspiration. Alumna Abby Zwart, co-founder of the post calvin, also spoke about the joys and trials of editing a daily blog and creating the website’s first essay collection.
The event is named for late English professor Bill Vande Kopple, who counted the annual writer’s retreat among his favorite traditions. The Hekman Library has many of his works, including his books The Catch: Families, Fishing, and Faith, The Release: More Stories of Families, Fishing, and Faith, and The Lure: Still More Stories of Families, Fishing, and Faith. At the Cavyan Media Center, you can also listen to a 2006 reading by Vande Kopple and James Schaap.
Written by Courtney Zonnefeld, student research desk assistant