Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is home to many literary courses and has hosted literary contests in the past.
But this week will mark its first ever literary festival.
This year's event is at the South Campus location in Concord, and the school hopes to expand to its other campuses in Kannapolis and Salisbury next year. This festival is open to the students and faculty of RCCC as well as to the community.
Officially named the RCCC LitFest, the weeklong festival will feature workshops in poetry and marketing, readings, a panel on publishing, a student awards ceremony for LitFest-sponsored contests and offsite readings at Dilworth Coffee in Concord, with open-mike time to follow.
The coffee shop is a sponsor of the event, along with Kakalak Anthology, Main Street Rag and Iodine Poetry Journal. Authors and publishers will also be available to sign and sell their books.
While this is the inaugural festival, RCCC plans to hold this event each year, sometime during the last week of March.
This year's keynote is poet Joseph Bathanti, who is scheduled to give a lecture at 10 a.m. March 30 to be followed by a question-and-answer session and reception beginning at 11 a.m. He is also scheduled to give a reading and do a book signing starting at 1 p.m. March 30.
Bathanti, a North Carolina resident, is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University in Boone. He is the author of four books of poetry, including "Communion Partners," "Anson County," "The Feast of All Saints," and "This Metal," which was nominated for the National Book Award.
His first novel, "East Liberty," was published in 2001 and won the Carolina Novel Award. His latest novel, "Coventry," won the 2006 Novello Literary Award.
The agenda for the rest of the week includes three events scheduled for March 31: a science fiction talk at 9:25 a.m., an awards ceremony for LitFest-sponsored student contests at 12:05 p.m. and an offsite reading at 7 p.m. at Dilworth Coffee - Concord.
Jessie Carty, an English adjunct instructor at RCCC and one of the LitFest's committee members, said the school held a practice event last year composed primarily of faculty for students.
"We like to help our students see that writers are real, living and breathing people. Having a literary festival gives the school a chance to celebrate while bringing together writers, students, faculty and the community," said Carty.
Carty said she is excited about being on the event's organizing committee.
"There are many creative writers on staff at RCCC, as well as students who are interested in creative writing. The school already had a tradition of a long-running creative writing award for students, so a festival is a terrific and perfect way to showcase and reward those students."
Said Carty: "Creative writing is a great avenue to help students become better critical readers and writers, which is especially important in our new economy."
This year's events are dedicated to local press and sponsor Main Street Rag, which will be present and available to sell participating authors' books. All events are free and open to the public.