University authors get chance to showcase work at open house

Daniel C. Hartman

For the few writers at Iowa State, the science and technology university fosters an underground home.

Several of those homegrown writers will be signing copies of their works as part of the University Book Store’s annual Winter Open House.

The featured authors this year are alumna Carolyn Carr, retired professor Norman Rudi, children’s author Anita Shelton Rollins and literary and film critic Loring Silet.

Rollins, program coordinator at the Institute for Physical Research and Technology at Iowa State, says she enjoys writing because of her background in journalism. She wanted to use this background to teach her children about cultures around them.

She says she hoped to help them gain a deeper understanding of their own faith using Negro spirituals and her writing skills.

“As the mother of five, I noticed a lack of life-affirming Christian children’s stories when my children were growing up,” Rollins says. “I also wanted to teach them about the richness and traditions found in Negro spirituals.”

Rollins says she began the process of writing the books about two years ago and found the process of getting a work published can be excruciating.

“If I can give any advice at all to aspiring writers, it is that writing a book is only the very beginning,” Rollins says. “You definitely need to believe in your work. Also, you shouldn’t get discouraged about the publishing process. It does take time.”

Her first book, “Angels Watchin'” was published in February and her second book, “Nobody Knows,” was released in October. She says her next work is a book of devotions for adults, also utilizing Negro spirituals as source material.

Loring Silet, professor of English, has written many books on film and mystery writers since 1972. Silet’s area of expertise is film criticism, and he says there is a small community of critics on campus.

Among Silet’s published works are critiques of Steven Spielberg’s works and a book featuring interviews with director Oliver Stone.

Silet has also written a few books focusing on mystery. Among these are books critiquing mystery writers and a mystery novel written by a collective of writers.

He says although there are not very many critics on campus, other writing areas are more active.

“There certainly is a very strong sense of community among the writers here at Iowa State,” Silet says. “It’s particularly true among the students and staff in the creative writing program. Not so much in my area, though.”

What: Winter Open House

Where: University Book Store, Memorial Union

When: 7:45 a.m.- 7:30 p.m., Wednesday

Cost: Free