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With the theme “Imagine Oklahoma ,” Red Dirt Book Festival will take place November 6 and 7 in Shawnee , Okla. at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center and on the campuses of Oklahoma Baptist University and St. Gregory’s University.

Preceding the festival, popular author, teacher, and mentor Mel Odom will host a day-long workshop at St. Gregory’s University for new and aspiring writers. On Thursday, November 5, Odom will work with select high school writers nominated by their teachers and screened by a festival selection committee to earn a spot in the workshop. Selection was based upon the student’s academic record, samples of their writing, and demonstrated potential as a writer.

Odom said the workshop will be a “down-and-dirty guide” to novel writing, tailored specifically to new writers.

Odom’s workshop will also “touch on the whole world of commercial blogging for young writers who want…to rack up experience,” he said. Odom stresses the importance of blogging as it is a good way for a writer to get exposure and experience through a relatively new literary outlet.

Students selected to participate in the workshop will have all of their expenses paid by the Red Dirt Book Festival sponsors Paul Milburn and the Shawnee Junior Service League.

For more information about the Red Dirt Book Festival visit their website at While online reservations for meal tickets has ended; everyone can register to attend the festival online or at the festival.

Support for the festival is provided by the Pioneer Library System, the Oklahoma Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as community support including the Shawnee Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma Baptist University and St. Gregory’s University and many local donors and volunteers