The 68th annual student-run Florida Writers Festival will kick off this weekend. This year, festivalgoers can engage with notable writers Lydia Davis, Lawrence Joseph, Rachel Cusk and Paul Muldoon.

The free festival will include readings as well as informative discussions about the craft of writing by all authors, according to the press release.

Andrew Cushen, a 21-year-old UF Spanish senior, went to the festival last year and is attending again after having a great experience.

“You get to listen to writers read their work,” Cushen said. “There are some great craft talks about what they find instructive and useful in their writing, and I think for anyone who’s interested in making a successful time of writing poetry or prose, it’s a really positive experience.”

While Cushen praises all of the authors for their work, he said he’s most excited to see Cusk and Muldoon this year.

“I’m looking most forward to seeing Rachel Cusk because she is legitimately making herself known in the literary world right now, but in line-up, I’m probably most excited that Paul Muldoon is coming because I love his poetry, and he is, from what I can tell, a talented editor,” Cushen said. “He just finished being editor of poetry at the New Yorker, and he hosted the New Yorker Poetry podcast, and I think his past position as an editor brings immense prestige to the Writers Festival this year.”

Cushen said Gainesville is the perfect place for emerging writers because the wackiness of Florida is the perfect setting for stories, and the tight-knit community of undergraduate and graduate student writers creates endless opportunities for budding authors.

“There’s all sorts of events around town like the Writers Festival, but also poetry and fiction readings, readings at Third House Books, the Fine Print, Tea, the undergraduate literary magazine, and I know there are a couple other zines around town,” Cushen said. “It’s important that Gainesville hosts the Writers Festival because it keeps our program and the general population active participants in the important literary movements and turns of our time.”

The festival will start Friday at 8 p.m. with readings from Lydia Davis and Lawrence Joseph, according to the press release. Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, Lawrence Joseph and Paul Muldoon will discuss their craft Saturday at 1 p.m. The festival ends Saturday at 8 p.m. with readings from Rachel Cusk and Paul Muldoon. All events will be held on campus at the Ustler Hall Atrium.