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Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Writers’Roundtable

Rivers Institute offers weekend workshop
for regional writers at Hanover College

Madison native Wallis to discuss
Harlan Hubbard legacy in keynote address

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer


(October 2006) – Editor, writer, historian and teacher Don Wallis grew up in Madison, Ind., yet he now resides in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he teaches humanities classes at Antioch University. His family, however, still has a strong presence in Madison; his sister is Jane Wallis Jacobs, owner-publisher of the Madison Courier, and Wallis himself owns the Vevay Newspaper, which is operated by the Madison Courier.
As a child, Wallis knew who philosopher, writer and painter Harlan Hubbard was. He even visited Hubbard’s home across the river in Payne Hollow, Ky., many times. As an adult, Wallis became longtime friends with Hubbard and his wife, Anna. “We also worked together on a few projects,” Wallis said during a telephone interview in late September.

Don Wallis

Don Wallis

Wallis will speak about the Hubbards, both now deceased, during his keynote address at the 14th annual Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Writer’s Roundtable, scheduled for Oct. 6-8 at the Jefferson County Historical Society and Hanover College. The event is presented by the Rivers Institute at Hanover College.
Wallis’ presentation titled, “Harlan Hubbard’s Sense of Place,” will be at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at the Jefferson County Historical Society. The keynote address is free and open to the public.
At the Roundtable, which takes place Saturday and Sunday on the Hanover College campus, writers will be able to participate in up to two of the four available workshops.
These workshops will be for those interested in writing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and documentary film. The registration fee for one workshop is $85, while the registration fee for two workshops is $150.
These fees include the opening reception and breakfast and lunch.
Molly Dodge, Director of External Relations at Rivers Institute at Hanover College and organizer for the Roundtable, said there are a limited number of scholarships available for aspiring writers who would like to attend the conference. She added that writers of any level, whether beginning or professional, are welcome to attend.
Not only will students receive hands-on instruction through workshops, they will be able to rub elbows with accomplished writers, such as Wallis.
Wallis has written and edited several books about the life and work of Hubbard, including “Oyo: An Ohio River Anthology,” “Harlan Hubbard and the River,” “Shantyboat Journal” and “Payne Hollow Journal.”

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Writers’ Roundtable Weekend Schedule

• Opening Reception: 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 6
at the Jefferson County Historical Society,
615 W. First St. 7-8 p.m. Keynote Address.
• Roundtable Workshops: Saturday-Sunday,
Oct. 7-8 at Hanover College.
• Information: (812) 866-6846 or www.riversinstitute.org

“I want to keep the awareness of Hubbard’s values alive,” he said.
Wallis admired Hubbard’s lifestyle and his “enlightened understanding of ecology.” The Hubbards lived off the land without electricity or running water for more than 40 years. They surrounded themselves with nature and art in a simplistic lifestyle that attracted followers from all over the world.
“His vision of the way people are going to have to live in order to sustain life is true,” Wallis said.
He added that Hubbard wanted to live close to the Earth; he did no harm to it. He said Hubbard loved the river and the river life, and it was that sense of place that gave his work a spiritual significance.
“People sense his way of life had meaning and satisfaction others long for, and that meaning comes through in all of his work.”
Besides his work on Hubbard, Wallis has published other works and teaches at several schools in Yellow Springs. He is the author of “Children of a Child Centered School,” based on the progressive program at the Antioch School, where children are trusted to use their natural gifts. He teaches creative writing there. He also wrote “All We Had Was Each Other,” an oral history of the black community of Madison.
In addition to Wallis, faculty for the conference includes several prominent writers from around the region. David and Eulalie Dick of Louisville, Ky., will offer the creative nonfiction workshop. In 1992, the couple founded Plum Lick Publishing Inc. and have since produced 10 books including, “The View from Plum Lick,” “Home Sweet Kentucky” and “Rivers of Kentucky.”
Nikky Finney, a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky, will conduct the poetry workshop. She has published several books of poetry, including “Rice,” which won the PEN American Open Book Award in 1999. Her 2003 “The World is Round” won the 2004 Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry.
Joyce Hinnefeld, an associate professor of English at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., will teach the fiction workshop. Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, the Greensboro Review, 13th Moon and other publications.
Tom Marksbury, who teaches American literature, creative writing and film at the University of Kentucky, will teach the workshop for documentary filmmaking. Marksbury has written seven documentary films that examine the lives of several American actors, a music producer and author. These films have been screened around the world. He has received a Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Al Smith Fellowship for fiction for an excerpt from his novel, “Shatterbrain.”
The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Writers’ Roundtable was formed in 1989 with the purpose of bringing together regional writers to consider and explore their common history, experience and artistic heritage. It is designed to help strengthen the region’s sense of identity and community.

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