(Photo courtesy of: Riley Fontana) “Tabitha Soper shares her short horror story.”
The UMass Lowell English Department has hosted several open mic nights where students are able to share their writing. Their most recent was held on Nov. 16, 2023. This event was organized by the Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honors Society) and the UMass Lowell Alumni Writing Group. These events are amazing ways for students to catch up with friends and see what everyone is working on.
For this open mic night, they invited 2023 graduate Tabitha Soper to be their key speaker. She read a short horror story titled “Dwellings” before the floor was turned to student and alumni writers to share their work. The night included a mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and even some music from several writers. There was no shortage of writers excited to share class projects, passion projects and much more. Alumni spoke on their time at UMass Lowell and their post-graduation publications.
Soper was very excited to be back on campus and spoke very highly of her time at UMass Lowell. “My favorite part of being here was the friends I made along the way and being so involved in the department,” she said looking back at her years in the English department. Since graduation, she has kept herself busy, saying, “I have two jobs and writing every moment I can. I have been workshopping with the people I met here and applying for MFA programs.”
Soper also talked about what she wished she had known while she was still an undergraduate student. “Make friends in your major. Everyone talks about the importance of friends outside your major, which is important, but having connections with people who have the same interests later in life is so important.”
Many students and alumni turned up to support their fellow writers and the department was filled with laughter as well as a few tears as people read their work aloud. The English Department and associated organizations host events like these pretty frequently to help harbor
the community of writers on campus. They encourage everyone who writes to stop by and share their stories, make friends and find workshops.
The readers shared deep and meaningful stories and poems all night, creating a very welcoming and safe space for new writers. Some writers were able to share their writing publicly for the first time ever, which created a very special form of community within the room. Once everyone who wanted to had shared their writing, there was time for the writers to mingle amongst each other and talk about their writing. Many people left the event with new connections and confidence in their writings.
These open mic nights are great ways for writers to share work and for readers to see what is going on in campus writing circles. There is no shortage of genres shared, so there is bound to be something everyone likes shared at these events. These events build confidence in writers and help get engagement for campus writing organizations including The Offering, UMass Lowell’s yearly literary magazine.