UE LitFest

The annual UE LitFest gives undergraduates the opportunity to present creative and critical papers to audiences made up of their peers, their professors, and the members of the local literary community. Students also have the opportunity to win awards for their writing.


Melvin M. Peterson Literary Forum
Hemminger-Brown Lecture

Hollow Crowns: Shakespeare's Histories and Netflix's The Crown

Friday, April 14, 2023, 7:00 p.m.
Room 162, Harkness Hall
Schroeder Family School of Business Administration Building

Vanessa Rapatz headshot

Vanessa Rapatz, PhD, is an Associate Professor of English at Ball State University, where she specializes in early British literature. Her book Convents and Novices in Early Modern English Dramatic Works (2020) considers the dramatic afterlives of Catholic spaces and figures in the wake of the Reformation. Currently, she is working on a pop culture Shakespeare project that examines contemporary films and television series set in a variety of historical periods that deploy Shakespeare's allusions and performances as vehicles to reflect upon contemporary personal, social, and historical identities.

UE LitFest

11th Annual Literary Conference

Saturday, April 15, 2023
Student Panels at 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and Noon.
Rooms 271, 272, and 273, Schroeder Family School of Business Administration Building
Attendance is FREE and open to the public.

On the morning before the formal start of the conference, students in literature classes drew chalk broadsides on the sidewalks of the campus. Between the 17 th and 19 th centuries, such broadsides were commonly used to communicate news and events or to post ballads or poetry in public spaces. The broadsides created for this year’s LitFest were selected from the students' reading in the Spring semester.

 The 2023 conference officially began on Friday evening with the Hemminger-Brown lecture at the Melvin M. Peterson Literary Forum. Dr. Vanessa Rapatz, Associate Professor of English at Ball State University, gave a lecture titled “Hollow Crowns: Shakespeare’s Histories and Netflix’ The Crown.”

The conference continued on the Saturday morning with a series of student panels. View the complete schedule.

At the end of the conference, the Department of English and Creative Writing presented its 2023 awards:



  • Third: Sam Fowler for “Forgotten Student”
  • Second: Alexis Carpenter for “Playlist for When You’ve Traded Your Home of Seventeen Years for a Mold-Infested Dorm, Only to Realize You Don’t Actually Know What You Are Doing With Your Life”
  • First: Sam Tarter for “The First Year”


  • Third: Hayden Chrapek for “My Only”
  • Second: Trix Nico for “Linen Wish”
  • First: Alexis Carpenter for “From Rachmaninov to Rocket Man”


  • Third: Everin Casey for “February”
  • Second: Caroline Gorman for “You Mortal Beings Are the Instrument By Which the Universe Creates”
  • First: Alexis Carpenter for “Out of the Blue, Into the White”


  • Third: Elizabeth Dye for “The Concept of Gender in H.D.’s ‘Sheltered Garden’”
  • Second: Christina Jesenski for “Badass Brides: Strength, Suffering, and the Subversion of Patriarchy in Hrotsvit’s Sapientia and Galawdewos’s The Life of Walatta-Petros
  • First: Gabrielle Hardoin for “‘Back She Turned’: Insight into the Superiority of Women in John Milton’s Paradise Lost using Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd’”


Caroline Gorman for “Frankenstein as Poet: Apprehending the Unapprehendable”


Elizabeth McCook

Past Speakers at UE LitFest

  • 2022 – Larry Caldwell – on John Keats
  • 2021 – Michael Kim Roos – on Bob Dylan
  • 2019 – Edward P. Comentale – on Kurt Vonnegut
  • 2018 – Cecelia Tichi – on Edith Wharton and Jack London
  • 2017 – Jacqueline Briggs Martin – on Children’s Literature
  • 2016 – Matthew J. Bolton – on TS Eliot
  • 2015 – William Hemminger – on Wallace Stevens
  • 2014 – Robert Paul Lamb – on Mark Twain
  • 2013 – Arthur Brown – on Stephen Crane
  • 2012 – Charles Conaway – on William Shakespeare