While the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University, Mankato has had to make some modifications to its usual arrangements, the core has remained the same.
This three-part series brings in professional authors to work with and teach MNSU students about the craft of writing
Most, if not all, events this semester have been held virtually due to COVID-19, whereas, in past years, the in-person events were held in the Centennial Student Union.
“It’s great that the organization can be flexible. It’s difficult to plan events during this time, but I really think Good Thunder is doing a great job,” said MNSU student Kaylyn Haeg.
According to MNSU Professor Candace Black, director of the GTRS, the criteria for recruiting the authors relies on how much authors charge for appearances, if the author has published new books, diverse subject matters and a variety of genres.
“Public reading attendance may be down,” said Black, “but the audience that does come is still very enthusiastic. … It’s an honor to bring writers. It’s fun and stimulating while also encouraging creativity for those who are involved.”
The organization’s biggest challenge for this year is getting the word out, especially with fewer students spending time on campus.
Despite COVID-19, GTRS organizers hope to keep going. They want to be able to introduce students to new literature and improve on their writing.
For the students of MNSU, the organization’s efforts don’t go unnoticed, even to those who don’t hold a great love of literature or aspiring writers.
“It’s not my cup of tea, but I think it’s very beneficial for the students working towards literary majors and even some who go for communications,” commented MNSU student Derek Von Ruden.
The GTRS lineup for the Spring 2021 semester consists of Brit Bennett appearing from Jan. 26-29, Chris McCormick and Michael Torres on Feb. 25, Ayse Papatya Bucak on March 25 with Kao Kalie Yang, and Tina Gross closing out the semester on April 22.
“Being exposed to contemporary writing is essential no matter your circumstances,” Black said.