Dixie State University’s English department played host for two distinguished writers at Thursday night’s The Southern Quill Benefit Reading and Silent Auction.
Around 50 people turned out to the event. Students, faculty and community members gathered the Zion Room in the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons. Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to silently bid on donations of every kind for the student-ran journal, anything from drawings to food items from local donors was available for biddings.
Yet, a big cause for the turnout stemmed from the appearance of Dave Wolverton known by his pen name David Farland, a New York Times bestselling author, and Kristyn Decker, author of “Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies.”
“This is a field where you can make a living as a writer,” Farland said. “A lot of people will tell you that you can’t. That is not surprising, because the people who are telling you that are people who can’t because they haven’t done it.”
Following the benefit reading provided by both authors, members of the audience were given the opportunity to converse with the authors as they mingled with the crowd.
Prior to the event, Farland and Decker expressed their love for writing and what it has done for them in their lives.
Farland, the author of over 50 books, has worked in various genres, with his bestseller series, “The Runelords,” being fantasy. Farland said he written novels for the “Star Wars” and “The Mummy” franchises.
Farland also spends a good portion of his time mentoring young authors, young at heart or age. He has coached many published authors, including Stephanie Meyer (“Twilight”), Brandon Sanderson (“Wheel of Time”), Brandon Mull (“Fablehaven”) and James Dashner (“The Maze Runner”).
Jacob Cooper, a senior individualized studies major from Kailua, Hawaii, said as a writer himself, Farland has been a mentor for him when it comes to his personal writing.
After a year of trying, Farland finally agreed to help Cooper. Cooper said Farland told him: “I believe you can get there. It’s in [you and] I see it. You’re rough and you need help, but you got it.”
For Decker, she wrote because it was her “sanity.” Growing up in the Apostolic United Brethren faith was difficult for Decker. In the beginning, writing was a way to vent about the “harm of polygamy” and a chance to get everything out that she had bottled up inside. The result of years of journaling had paid off as Decker complied her book of vignettes.
“It seemed like I wrote [the vignettes] when I was having a tough time because that is what helped me again to vent or escape or put it out there on paper,” Decker said. “I did a lot of burning and a lot of tearing up of writing too.”
Decker said even though she doesn’t get to write as much as she would like, writing is one of her greatest joys. She said she believes everyone has a story to tell and that everyone should write.
The Southern Quill’s event came to a close with audience members leaving with their newly purchased possessions.