“Lemony Snicket” author Daniel Handler, April Sinclair (whose book, "Coffee Will Make You Black," is about to become a major motion picture) and luminary poet Arisa White will share their knowledge and insights in conversation, hosted by and for SUNY Oswego's community but also made open to the public because of their level of popularity. The virtual chat featuring these Subnivean Awards judges, followed by finalists reading their work, will mark the first-ever literary competition showcase for the college's student-run literary publication, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 22.

After the three celebrity authors chat, the audience will hear the work of Subnivean Awards finalists -- poets Chaun Ballard, Joan Kwon Glass, Canaan Morse and Emma Wynn; fiction writers Nicole Lynn Cohen, Jared Green, Angie Kang and Kyle Rea. 

Register to attend this free event at bit.ly/subnivean.

“We were blown away when all three graciously agreed to serve as the final judges of our international Subnivean Awards competition in poetry and fiction, selecting the winners and writing blurbs about the winning works,” said Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, an English and creative writing member who teaches the Creative Writing 313 class that coordinates the publication and awards. 

“And while we were jumping up and down, pinching ourselves, we thought, we want the entire SUNY Oswego campus to feel this way!” Frazier added. “So, we decided to invite the entire Oz community to a virtual literary event featuring Dan, Arisa and April in conversation.”

The finalists came from hundreds of submissions over a period of months from across North America as well as Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and Oceania. 

“We wished beyond reason that we could name at least 600 finalists,” Frazier said. “But we buckled down and focused, and in the end, chose the eight authors whose words haunted us long after we'd set their manuscripts aside: whispering to us in classrooms, shouting to us across courtyards.” 

The April 22 celebration “is all about great dialogue and great literature,” Frazier added. “We'll start with the celebrity judges in conversation, then move on to readings by the Subnivean Awards finalists.”

Learning opportunity

For SUNY Oswego students, selecting pieces then planning and executing an awards competition -- one that additionally showcases celebrity authors -- has been an amazing professional-level learning experience.

When I registered for the CRW 313: Digital Narrative class, I did not expect to be able to get first-hand experience of being an editor for such an established publication,” said Allyson Voerg, who serves as the student editor-in-chief of Subnivean. “This class has certainly surpassed my expectations.”

The process allowed Voerg’s immersion into literature from authors across the globe but also learning how to be the “student face” of a publication corresponding with accomplished authors. “I quickly learned what makes a piece of literature stand out from hundreds of submissions as being high-caliber and worthy of publication. “I have felt what it is like to be an editor in the field, which is something I would not have been able to learn without being a part of Subnivean. Being editor-in-chief has given me a valuable step towards becoming an editor after I graduate, preparing me for a possible future career.”

As the publication’s fiction editor and event co-host, Shannon Sutorius has learned plenty about managing Submittable -- a widely used submission management software, as well as how to market and plan a big event. As a writer, she has used Submittable from the user end, but seeing the recipient end, which includes voting and commentating on submissions, has helped her to understand the writing, editing and publication process better.

The submissions were so high quality and competitive,” Sutorious noted. “I am really excited to honor our finalists who absolutely deserve to get this award, and I hope they’ll be comforted by the presence of one of the editors who decided they got to be there hosting the event.”

As the student events manager, Adelis Santos has learned more about planning an event, as well as about Oswego and creative writing majors, while cherishing “the opportunity to piece together an event that can become the catalyst for many more awards to come,” Santos said. 

“I've been able to communicate with many students that are each playing a role within Subnivean and the upcoming awards,” Santos explained. “Learning about Subnivean this semester has also given me a resource to read local pieces and give my writer friends a place to submit their work and even get recognized for it.”

For more information about the student-run digital publication or the April 22 showcase, visit Subnivean.org.