Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 22, 2009) - Giving Voice: a Festival of Writing and the Arts will return to John Brown University Thursday, February 26, and Friday, February 27. The festival will headline Patricia Hampl, Thom Satterlee, and Roger Hart, a group of writers, artists, and musicians, along with poet and JBU alumna Emily Culella. Thursday’s chapel service, featuring nonfiction writer Patricia Hampl, is open to the public and begins at 10:30 a.m. The Sager Creek Art Center in downtown Siloam Springs will host a public reading featuring the work of Hampl, Satterlee, Hart, and Culella on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Friday will welcome over 200 students from area high schools for a workshop-filled day designed to encourage their creative skills. The workshops will include creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, drama, worship music, sculpture, and printmaking. This year the festival will once again include other forms of art besides writing. JBU professors from the English, Art, Music and Drama departments will join the featured guests in leading the various workshops. “My hope is that ‘Giving Voice’ will motivate and inspire beginning writers and artists at JBU and in our community to go on and create great art,” said Associate Professor of English and JBU Writer in Residence, Patty Kirk. One of the festival goals is to help engage high school students in writing and the arts. This festival is one of the few programs of its kind that targets the community as well as high school students. “We are pleased to offer the campus, the local community, and invited high school students an opportunity to see, hear, and participate in one of our greatest gifts—creativity,” said Brad Gambill, honors director. The JBU English Department is sponsoring a writing contest for high school students participating in the festival. Three cash prizes will be awarded. “We want to send a clear signal that the arts are respected and valued here at John Brown University,” said Gambill.