Francesca T. Royster visits campus for Writer’s Center

Casey McCartin, Staff writer

On the evening of March 9 a crowd of about 15-20 individuals gathered in the Building H of Elgin Community College in room H142 to attend a Writer’s Center Reading Series event.

The attendees consisted of ECC students, several professors and even a few community members who were interested in the event.

The guest speaker at the event was Francesca T. Royster, an English professor and chair of the English Department at Depaul University in Chicago. Royster has successfully published several books including “Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era” and “Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon”. These books were available for purchase at the end of the event.

After a brief introduction from ECC English professor, Rachael Stewart, Royster read two excerpts from her upcoming memoir. Each of the excerpts focused on the heart-ache and frustrations her and her wife endured when adopting their daughter and the ups and downs they have faced since expanding their family.

“It’s all very fresh and it’s weird to write about something that’s happening, you know, a month ago as opposed to 300 years ago which is what I’m used to writing about,” said Royster.

After Royster read each piece, there was time for questions from the attendees.

“I really appreciated the passage where you were talking about relationships and how they’re kind of like part past part future. I had never quite thought of things that way before so I really liked that,” said Dan Mursewick.

Several attendees asked questions regarding the adoption process and even opened up about how they were adopted as children.

“I was talking before about your capacity for inclusivity and I was adopted I think that some people are lucky enough to be adopted by people who’s sense of inclusivity is not determined by blood,” said Stewart. “It’s a capacity not all people have. Some people are very rigidly defined by blood-ties and I would say [your daughter] is a very lucky little girl”.

At the end of the event there was an opportunity to purchase copies of each of Royster’s books and have them signed as well.

“What a gift those essays are to [her daughter], that’s something she will have forever now and she’ll read them at different times of her life and understand them in different ways,” Stewart said. “What a glorious gift that is. As someone who is adopted when I was listening to the first essay, I felt that to my toes”.