New program allows TCU students to share creative writing talents

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The third installment of the Live Oak Reading Series was both an ending and a beginning.

The evening was the semester’s final Live Oak Reading at TCU, but it launched a new program called FAST (Faculty and Student Talent), which is a collaboration between a TCU creative writing faculty member and a student writer.

The inaugural FAST, held Dec. 4 in Moudy South, drew more than 70 students. The reading was co-hosted by Matthew Pitt, TCU professor and chair of the Creative Writing Committee, and Kellie Coppola, a fourth-year writing and history double major.

Before the reading, one of Pitt’s students, sophomore strategic communication major Lia Camp, said she was looking forward to the event.

“I’m looking forward to it, because I’m expecting some refreshingly unique content from his seemingly wild imagination,” she said. “Dr. Pitt has been giving us previews of his writing, so now I want to hear a full story.”

Pitt explained the thought process behind FAST.

“We have so many great creative writing faculty here, and we don’t get the opportunity to hear each other’s work… that bothered me,” he said.  “Also, I was thinking we need to offer a platform that gives students a way to present professionally.”

So, FAST was born and will be held once a semester.

Pitt introduced his student, Kellie Coppola, who has recently completed a collection of five short stories entitled “If Found” for her honors thesis. Pitt described Coppola’s thesis and writing.

“Her thesis is a remarkable, wide-ranging collection of stories,” he said. “Kellie has an empathetic eye – an eye necessary for writers.”

Coppola then read a piece from the collection titled “Separation Anxiety.”

In her work, Coppola said she “finds humor in everyday — typically depressing — situations.” She described her writing as “balancing lightheartedness with darkness.”

After Coppola finished reading, she introduced Pitt for his segment of the event. Pitt gave a dramatic reading of a portion of his short story “These Are Our Demands,” a story Pitt describes as an “absurd abduction in time lapse.”

Upon conclusion, Coppola said she enjoys the opportunity to read aloud.

“I’ve spent a whole year with these stories, and reading them out loud makes them fresher," she said. "Seeing the audience reaction makes me enjoy it more.”

The Live Oak Reading Series will resume next semester.

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