Lorna attended undergrad at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she concentrated her coursework around existential and phenomenological philosophy, contemporary literature, all forms of writing (including a two-semester course on scriptwriting), and finally the psychological processes of the brain and endocrine system. She received a B.A. in Experimental Psychology, cum laude in May 2008. Shortly before graduation, Lorna began working at Digital Media Communications as a scriptwriter.
In August 2009, Lorna moved to Sheffield, England to get her Master’s in Writing. With a concentration in novel writing and a secondary module in short stories, she completed her first novel, Killer & the Crooks. Killer is Lorna’s portrait of her generation in South Carolina and resounds globally. Lydia Netzer, author of How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky called Lorna’s manuscript “The Outsiders for Millennials” during a critique at the Hub City Writer’s conference. While living in Sheffield, Lorna worked at a theatre and a pub, where she organized and hosted an open-mic night for writers called Full Stop.
During the Autumn of 2010, Lorna traveled to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and all around Scotland. Her short story “Déjà Vous” was published in Matter 10 in May 2010. She also received recognition as the Best of MA at Sheffield Hallam University for her manuscript of Killer & the Crooks. The first chapter, The Summer of Fear, is included in the 2010 edition and the second chapter, The Scariest Monster, was printed in the 2011 issue. Lorna’s piece “The Anonymous Youth” was published in NowThen magazine in April 2011, and her short story “The Beholder” was published online in June. She participated in readings at bookstores around Sheffield and London, and submitted her manuscript for Killer & the Crooks in May 2011, for which she received her Master’s with merit.
Lorna moved to Nantes, France for the summer of 2011. An exhibition about her short story “Déjà Vous” took place at Red Gate Gallery in London on June 3. In the introduction of Matter 10, Margaret Drabble, known for The Needle’s Eye and The Witch of Exmoor, said, “Festa’s [work is a] disconcerting exploration of decomposition and paranoia.” The exhibit in London featured an extraordinary mix of artists’ work in different media, all revealing an interpretation or aspect of the story. Lorna read the short story over a live feed for opening night. She returned to the United States in August 2011.
Lorna resides in western North Carolina with her cat Oscar, and has started writing a screenplay called Front Port Slow Jams in addition to working on her second novel manuscript Regulars. She works as a freelance writer, editor, web content manager and marketer, with experience producing website copy, SEO, press releases, social media, newsletters, as well as conducting research.