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Special Events

An Evening with Southern Writers

June 3, 2018, 7 p.m. | Auburn University Hotel + Dixon Conference Center Auditorium

After a casual networking and social hour at Piccolo, head to the auditorium at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center for a reading of contemporary Southern literature. Writers from Auburn's vibrant writing community. Ashley Durrance (poetry), Lauri Anderson Alford (prose), Rajiv Mahabir (poetry), and Andrew Malan Milward (prose) will share their recent work with you. This event is free and open to conference attendees and their guests.

Cultural Excursion to Tuskegee, Alabama

Morning of June 4, 2018

Join other conference attendees for a trip to nearby Tuskegee, Alabama on Monday, June 4, departing from the Auburn University Hotel at 8:00 am and returning by 11:45 a.m. This will be an add-on option in place of a morning workshop on Monday, June 4, and guests of conference attendees are welcome to attend. Registered conference attendees will pay $50 and guests will pay $75. Slots will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis and capped at 34 attendees. Conference attendees will be back in time for Monday's lunch session and keynote speaker. Stops include Tuskegee University and The Oaks, the home of Booker T. Washington, built in 1899 with bricks made by students; the George Washington Carver Museum, featuring much more than just peanuts and sweet potatoes; and the Tuskegee History Center, a living memorial to the victims and survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The tour will be led by Dr. Mark Wilson, Director of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Auburn University, who coordinated a nationally-televised symposium with partners to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Tuskegee High School and the federal court case that integrated schools statewide. Discover why author Ralph Ellison wrote about Tuskegee to his mother as a freshman: "This is a beautiful place. It looks like a small town, the food is good enough and I'll like it here. I'm going to work hard to stay."

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration Dinner

Evening of June 4, 2018

In honor of the 25th anniversary of IWAC and thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we will be hosting a reception at Auburn University's iconic (and yes, air conditioned!) Red Barn. The buffet-style dinner will be an authentic farm-to-table dining experience featuring fresh local cuisine. Musical entertainment for the evening will be provided by talent from the local Auburn-Opelika music scene. All music is guaranteed to be suitable for listening, dancing, singing along, or otherwise celebrating in the Red Barn.

Weaving Stories: A Cabaret of Connections

June 5, 2018, 8 p.m. | Auburn University Telfair B. Peet Theatre

Elizabeth Ann Benson will perform an evening of stories and songs for IWAC 2018. Selections for this special IWAC event are drawn from classical art song, musical theater, and contemporary pop. These seemingly eclectic songs are woven into a tapestry of common authors, themes, and experiences. Join us on a journey through literature, languages, and the circle of life. This event is free and open to conference attendees and their guests.

Praised for her "delightful" (The Boston Globe) and "delicately compassionate" (Times Herald Record) singing, Elizabeth is recognized as a dynamic and versatile performer. In her Carnegie Hall debut, she created the title role of Lucy by Tom Cipullo, and her performance was acclaimed as "excellent" (The Big City). Other roles include Áljana (A Little Princess), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), and Hope (Anything Goes). In Colorado, Elizabeth sang leading roles with Loveland Opera Theater, Luminous Thread Productions, and Coal Creek Theater of Louisville. She was a 2015 winner of The American Prize Chicago Musical Theatre Award, and made her solo debut at Chicago's Symphony Center singing music by Rodgers and Hammerstein with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony. She was a special prize winner in the 2015 George Gershwin International Music Competition. In 2016, she was a national finalist in the American Prize Art Song competition.

Elizabeth holds a master of music degree from New England Conservatory, and a doctorate from The City University of New York Graduate Center. She is also multi-lingual and specializes in crossover vocal technique, spanning from opera to musical theater to rock; her secondary research interest is in the development of collegiate musical theater curricula. She is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the BFA Music Theater program at Auburn University. She serves as the department of theater's principal singing instructor and music director. To learn more about Elizabeth's work, click here.

The cabaret is directed by Tessa Carr, and Elizabeth will be joined by the following musicians:
Milton E. Williams, piano
Logan Pace, guitar and vocals

WAC-GO Cocktail Hour

Evening of June 5, 2018

Sponsored by The WAC Clearinghouse, Mike Palmquist, Fountainhead Press, and Bedford/St. Martin's, WAC-GO invites all conference goers to attend this cocktail hour after sessions close on Tuesday. WAC-GO especially encourages established scholar-practitioners to meet, mix, and mingle with graduate students and take advantage of this opportunity to connect across generations. Complimentary beverages will be provided.