A “Literary Event” by Sadie Harden

A “Literary Event” by Sadie Harden

On December 4, 2018, I attended a “Literary Event” hosted by my good friend Sadie Harden ‘21. The idea for this event was born out of a requirement for her English class: attend two literary events this semester. Sadie wondered what it would look like to put on her own literary event and explore literature meaningful to those close to her. The invitation read, “bring yourselves and your unique stories and any type of writing you want to share (poetry, a journal entry, your favorite tweets, a snippet of your upcoming book, the last ten texts from your mom, shower thoughts, etc.) It can be something you wrote or you can just read something that means a lot to you!” Sadie invited people from all walks of life; the room was filled with Davidson students and alums, children ages seven months to eight years old, and various local professionals.

Sadie’s openness to all forms of literature (from original books to tweets) made for a space of acceptance and celebration of any type of written word. The presentations ranged from “The Gruffalo,” a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson, to a speech from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to a passage from the Book of John to a series of Facebook posts from 2009.

The wide range of “literature” presented at this event stirred up a question I had been asking myself since entering Davidson: what makes one written work inherently better than another? Who has the power to decide which bodies of writing are “literature” and which do not make the cut? To me, literature’s purpose is to express and explore some part of our humanity and to bring people together through written word. Who’s to say that my friend Thomas’s middle school Facebook posts, which prompted laughter and joy amongst the group and revealed to us a part of his past, are not literature?