English Festival

Join us for a year-long celebration of language & art

About English Festival

Stack of books

English Festival is an entirely student-conceptualized and student-run event. Students come up with the individual sessions (which include panels, presentations, and performances), the dates, fund-raising opportunities, and the advertising and promotion. Most important, the students are often also the panelists, performers, and presenters.

How the Festival works
A student might imagine a particular panel discussion idea (e.g., Shakespeare, dance as text, film renditions of classic novels) and then recruit other student panelists, including students from departments other than English, to join on the panel (or in the performance). In some ways our festival has resembled a typical academic conference, with papers and discussion; in other ways, it's been quite free-form. For instance, there could be a panel on Rap and Hip Hop, followed by a live rapper freestyling or a battle, and then reactions and discussion.

The Festival committee also sponsors an annual poetry and prose writing contest among Eau Claire area elementary and middle schools. Winners are chosen from various age categories.

English Festival history
The UW-Eau Claire English Festival has had a long line of famous guest speakers, such as Jon Shear an award winning director who has also acted in Independence Day and Heathers; Derrick Brown, an award-winning slam poet from LA; and our very own world famous writer, Professor Osonye Tess Onwueme.

How do students benefit from the Festival?
We offer many different opportunities for students to present: panels on academic writings; roundtable discussions; original works of fiction, including plays, short stories, poetry and more. This is a great opportunity for students to present their work in a professional setting.


This Year's Theme

Landscape of Language

Drawing on the ideas of our diverse offerings this year, language has the power to transcend boundaries and take us on an adventure. It narrates
our past, present, and future while teaching us about ourselves.