Bright Future: Trinity student chosen for 2018 NLCC fellowship

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017


NATCHEZ — For Camille Taylor, an environment of writers — sensitive, colorful souls who also spend long hours hovering over a keyboard or pencil — is a dream.

This spring, it will be a reality.

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Taylor was the first student chosen for a fellowship with The Natchez Literary Cinema Celebration’s 2018 conference.

While working, she will meet authors such as Matthew Guinn, David Sansing and Hank Klibanoff, among others, who are speaking at the conference.

Taylor, a senior at Trinity Episcopal Day School, wants to acquire a degree in English or creative writing at college, though she has not yet decided between Millsaps College and Loyola University New Orleans.

As a fellow for the conference, Taylor said she wants to broaden her knowledge of Mississippi authors and Southern writing.

And at this year’s conference — the theme of which is Southern Gothic — she is sure to meet such paragons of Mississippi literature.

Taylor said studying Mississippi authors would help her better appreciate the talent that has come from her home.

“I want to represent my state well because it deserves it,” Taylor said. “It irks me that when people think Mississippi they think poverty and racism and sexism and yes, those things are here, but in order to evolve, we have to be understood and we have to be well represented by people from here.”

Over the summer, Taylor was invited to participate in the McMullan Young Writers Workshop at Millsaps College, a program for juniors and seniors in high school who love writing.

Taylor said the McMullan workshop was one of the first times she was in the company of peers who share her love of writing.

“You get to meet a lot of other creative souls and when you’re a writer you tend to feel alone — you tend to feel deeply, see the world differently,” Taylor said. “Being around others like myself made me deeply excited about college. I had never had that before.”

When she is not writing, Taylor said she enjoys volunteer work with local and state charities.

Taylor spent one September weekend at Camp Able, a retreat that partners volunteers with men and women with special needs.

She said her time partnered with one young woman her age opened her eyes to the needs of people with autism.

“The least I can do is be a friend to her and help her do what she wants to do,” Taylor said. “Someone tells her what to do all the time. She’s not allowed to express herself — her true self.”

Outside of the fulfillment, Taylor said she feels when helping people, Taylor said the experiences with disabled and differently abled people inform her writing.

“The experiences that I have volunteering and being around beautiful people allows me to write about them,” she said. “You get to see real life, and that’s what I want to write about.”

In 10 years, Taylor said she hopes to have received a master’s degree or doctorate in creative writing or English and to be one step closer to becoming a professor.

“I hope to be smart enough to be able to actually, genuinely help students,” she said. “To be able to make someone else feel the way that professors at Millsaps made me feel is a dream.”

And she wants to keep writing — books, poetry, magazines and journals — wherever she can express herself, she said.

For now, though, Taylor said she just wants to find more opportunities to grow.

“People are afraid of failure — I am too,” Taylor said, “but you can’t just sit down and let whatever happens happen.”

Becoming the person you want to be, she said, is worth risking failure.

Taylor is the daughter of Marc and Courtney Taylor of Natchez.