Here at home: the Round Table

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

Nathan Goforth

Contributing Writer

“It’s an informal time for interested students to workshop their writings, get criticism, hear feedback, appreciate the joy of writing, ect.” – Andrew Hill

Originally created in fall of 2016, the “Inklings’ group was the early iteration that would eventually be remade into the Round Table today, the “Inklings” were a group dedicated to fantasy literature such as Tolkien, Lewis, Sanderson, Orson Scott Card and many others. 

However, due to scheduling strain, and the natural business of school life, the group was discontinued in fall of 2019.

However, this year, there was an effort made to draft the spiritual successor “Inklings.” Assistant professor of English Dr. Lindsey Panxhi rewrote the “Inklings” into the “Round Table” creative writing group on campus today. 

Created by Panxhi and supported heavily by assistant professor of English and TESL Dr. Jessica Rohr, the Round Table is a group dedicated to the art of creative writing, storytelling, poem crafting, playwriting and the glories of revision and review in an academic yet friendly environment. 

“I decided to name the group The Round Table this time, because I wanted to emphasize the idea of gathering in fellowship and in the pursuit of embodying virtues and truths in fiction,” Panxhi said.

While the Round Table may have a history of previous discontinuances, this iteration is quickly growing in popularity.

While the club is composed of many creative writing majors, it is not required for any student to have a writing major/minor – only an appreciation of the art and a willingness to help those who attend each meeting. Currently, the club has twenty-two members (Dr.s Panxhi and Rohr included). However, word of the club’s presence has led to most of those members recently having joined and petitioned for it to become a weekly event. The ‘Slightly-Less Round Table’ now meets unofficially, as a gathering of friends with an interest in creative writing, and together form the ‘Entirely Round Table’ when Rohr and Panxhi are able to attend.

Currently, the club is maintained by Andrew Hill and David Goforth, who together manage the shared Google Drive folder that allows the members to share their writings for the week without issue. 

Though, officially, neither claim status as ‘President,’ as the group is not an official OBU sponsored club, and merely just a gathering of friends and writers.

The group usually meets and spends a brief moment talking about their day before beginning with lobbying a story – that is, reading aloud and having a peer review of that story – until every story each member submits has been read. Due to the popularity, though, there is a 500-word limit for each story every week. While it is unfortunate that whole stories can not be read, it does keep suspense and members coming back just to hear more of each other’s works. Elia Tyson, freshman with a major in Creative Writing, spoke about the Round Table’s fellowship saying, “I enjoy hearing stories that the others have written, and getting the fellowship and inspiration from them as well as getting feedback on my own stories. It’s the concept of writing friends helping writing friends.”

COVID has, unsurprisingly, affected the group. Previously, the Round Table would be held at either at Panxhi or Rohr’s home for party games, reading and overall fellowship. However, group dynamics is relatively unchanged, and now the Round Table meets in the GC Gathering room. Panxhi has expressed an interest in returning to those functions, saying “I hope COVID conditions end soon, so we can fellowship more off campus.”

It is encouraged for new members to feel free to write and share their stories during the meeting sessions. Mary Brannon, a freshman with a double-major in graphic design and creative writing, said “It’s helpful to hear different perspectives on my own writing. When I read it yourself, I don’t notice everything, everyone notices and thinks differently about what I wrote. It’s a helpful insight.”

The group is open for new students to join at any time, meeting on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m.. In the GC’s Gathering Place.

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