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Writers Festival Features New Talent

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Writers Anthony Varallo and Camille Dungy read from their work to a packed audience in Fromm Hall on the night of Wed., April 15 as part of the Emerging Writers Festival. (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn))

“Writing is like an apprenticeship,” said Anthony Varallo, winner of the 2005 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and author of the new short story collection “Out Loud.”  Varallo was one of four writers that came to USF last Wednesday and Thursday as part of the annual Emerging Writers Festival sponsored by the English department and the African American studies minor. 

 

Writing can be a solitary activity, leaving only the writer and his or her muse, whittling away hours in front of a blank computer screen.  However the Emerging Writers Festival sought to bridge the gap between writers by exposing students to new, emerging writers.  Anthony Varallo and Camille Dungy read from their work and spoke to a packed, eager audience on Wed., April 15 with Caille Millner and John Casteen following on Thursday evening.  In addition, a lunch was held on Thursday afternoon to provide students with the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the emerging writers. 

Varallo began by reading the first story in his collection, “In the Age of Automobiles.”  He prefaced this by explaining that he attended an all-boys Catholic school.  Varallo often employs the muse of an isolated preadolescent boy without a father figure in his stories.  

“In the Age of Automobiles” relies on a car ride in which Cody, a lonely adolescent, asks his unpopular teacher Mr. Tercel to give him a ride home.  The story highlights many familiar junior high embarrassments and insecurities which prompted poet Camille Dungy to say, “I am trying to recover from the terror of junior high” in Varallo’s story.  Dungy, a Bay Area resident and alumnus of Stanford University, read several poems from her collection entitled “What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.”  She read “Long Time Gone, Long Time Yet to Come”, “Requiem”, “Black Spoon” and “The Preachers Eat Out.”  Dungy tackles racism and failed relationships in her poetry.  “The Preachers Eat Out” describes unequal treatment of black preachers in a restaurant.  It ends strongly with one of the preachers saying to the waitress, “Lady, my one regret/ is that we don’t have appetite enough/ to make you break every damned plate inside this room.”

Dungy  read her poetry with confidence, and made eye contact with the audience often, showing that she had many portions of her poems memorized.  She has received multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Virginia Commission for the Arts, amongst other awards.  In addition, Dungy is an assistant editor of “Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade.” 

Michael Fortes, a senior English major said of the readers on Wednesday night, “I thought it was a great contrast between a narrative and poetry.”

Author Advocates Green Business

On Monday, Sept. 29, the University of San Francisco hosted a book signing and business lecture by Tim Sanders, Yahoo’s Chief Strategy Officer, New York Times best-selling author, and the most in demand keynote business speaker on the lecture circuit, in Maier Hall.  

Sanders’ new book, “Saving the World at Work: What Companies and Individuals Can do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference,” is his latest in a series of business books and other informational tools on running and maintaining a successful business. The book covers a variety of topics from sustainability, to going green, to fair trade.  According to Sanders, the main point of the book is that businesses can make a difference while making a dollar.  

“The business world is changing from a take/waste to a leave/grow mentality,” said Sanders.  He explained that companies are now more heavily judged by customers and potential employees based upon their impact on the community and the larger environment.  

Sanders laid out the top three qualities that people use to judge a company. The first is how they treat their employees.  “We are emotionally attached to this quality because we ourselves are all workers,” he said. The second is the impact that the company has on the local community, since that is where the majority of the company’s employees come from, and they want to know that their company is on the side of their families and neighbors.  The third, which is quickly rising due to social awareness about global warming, is environmental friendliness.

So what exactly is a green company?  The term is used in the business world to mean to grow and expand your company.  According to Sanders, green is a goal that is always being strived for and never reached because it is always growing.  The four means of achieving green are reducing, reusing, recycling and replacing.

Sanders discussed the quality revolution that is now widespread.  “People now ask of companies why should I work for you, buy from you, and invest in you?” he said.  

According to Sanders, environmentally aware companies can hire an equally qualified person at 11% less than a company that does not put emphasis on environmental awareness because MBA’s know that the aware company will last longer.  Companies that do not have a positive community impact don’t last any more.  

Regressive economics doesn’t work anymore.  Being less bad for the environment than the competing company is not enough because successful business have figured out that helping the environment and community will help make money.   “90-day box thinking will kill you in the long run,” he said.  

Sanders ended with a community development key to making a dollar while making a difference.  “When you find an interest of the community and combine that with a capability of your company and help that community, you are creating a cash machine.”  

To learn more about Sanders’ business model, visit his website at www.timsanders.com or www.savingtheworld.net.