Dim lights, one mic and inspiration was all that was needed for senior Adrianna Gardner to keep the audience engaged in her powerful spoken words as she presented her senior thesis at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the University’s Cabaret Theatre.
Inspired by a six month trip to Africa, Gardner, a creative writing major, decided to make her senior project based on her experiences from her stay in Ghana.
While in Africa, Gardner kept a journal in which she recorded discoveries and occurrences of her trip.
When she came home, she put the pieces together and after much editing and hard work, she completed her first book, “Liberation Road: One Woman’s Journey Home.”
“I was seeing so much at one time while in Ghana,” Gardner said. “I needed a method of breaking down what I was seeing, and writing was the best way that I could express myself.”
To begin the presentation, Megan Gjerde introduced Gardner and assisted her in reading her first piece which consisted of two different dialogs.
“Her work is magnificent and very rich,” Gjerde said. “She really paints a beautiful picture with her words.”
In her book, Gardner focused on writing about her heritage, love, culture and what it is like to be an African American woman living in America and Africa.
Alexandra Fernandez, sophomore anthropology major, attended the presentation and was amazed by the excerpts read from the book.
“Her words were incredibly moving because they came from her experiences in Ghana,” Fernandez said. “I loved how she intertwined the theme of ‘liberation road’ with the struggles she experienced there as an emerging woman.”
Assistant Professor of English Kirsten Ogden, Gardner’s adviser, said Gardner had unfocused ideas about her senior project before going to Africa, but the trip helped guide her in the right direction.
“Her experience in Ghana really gave her a focus,” Ogden said. “She worked really hard on her book, editing and revising two to three times a week.”
As part of her work, Gardner wanted to combine African American storytelling as well as American storytelling.
Gardner plans to publish her book after graduating, and hopes to eventually teach.
“Writing has always been a place of self discovery and self expression,” Gardner said. “I was born to write and it is a part of who I am.”
Gabby De La Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.