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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Kerry Jones reads from her latest book ‘The Last Innocent Year’

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Wichita State’s MFA Program, Kerry Jones, a composition and linguistics faculty member and director of the writing center, read an excerpt from her book, “The Last Innocent Year,” which addresses humanity’s powerlessness in the face of time.

The event was co-sponsored by Wichita State’s Department of English, the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Watermark Books & Cafe, and the Ulrich Museum of Art.

John Jones, executive director of the Media Resources Center and a friend of Kerry Jones, introduced Kerry Jones and her work to start the event.

“What Kerry does more than anything else is show up for her friends, for her students, and she shows up for her art in a way that makes it possible to have the kind of success that she’s had,” John Jones said.

The event was free to attend and had a turnout of 121 people, a larger crowd than what is usually present for literary guest speakers. Clarence Albury, a graduate teaching assistant in the English department, said various age groups were present.

“Since we had a group tonight of so many different age groups, I think the story was a good choice,” Albury said. “I think it really resonated with the audience.”

Some WSU English professors offered extra credit in return for attending the event, while some creative writing and English majors attended to broaden their horizons of what they want to read and write.

“As an English/creative writing major, I love events like these, especially surrounding the culture of writing because I want to be a writer myself,” senior Braydee Holmes said. “I make this distinction where I’m a writer right now, once I get published, then I am an author. The dream is to be an author.”

The excerpt that Kerry Jones read dealt with existential dread and the passage of time.

“I think pieces that deal with that … always make for good, compelling fiction,” graduate teaching assistant Nicholas Claro said. “I really like her dialogue and how it is very authentic and true, which is difficult to put down on the page.”

Kerry Jones’ fiction has won the Richard Yates Short Story Award and appeared in other sources such as the Sycamore Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Bryant Literary Review Quarterly. “The Last Innocent Year” also won the Southeast Missouri State University’s Nilsen Prize.

After the audience heard her reading, Kerry Jones said, “Well, hey, let’s party,” as a closing statement before opening the event up for book signings.

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About the Contributor
Cheyanne Tull
Cheyanne Tull, Reporter
Cheyanne Tull is a first year reporter, photographer and illustrator for The Sunflower. Tull is double majoring in graphic design and journalism & media production. She hopes to work for outdoor publications in the future combining creativity, nature, and rock climbing. Tull uses she/her pronouns.

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