**Co-written by Ashleigh Nix ’10**
The Converse College Creative Writing program will host novelist, journalist and screenwriter Dan Wakefield for a public reading Tuesday, November 4 in the Montgomery Student Center. His visit is made possible by the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Visiting Writers Series.
A pioneer of the “new journalist movement,” Wakefield has performed various duties in the realm of writing, including novels, memoirs, non-fiction, screenwriting and many journalistic pieces. His best-selling novels Going All The Way and Starting Over were created as feature films. In addition, Wakefield’s memoir of New York in the Fifties was reconstructed as a documentary film, and he produced the NBC primetime TV series “James at 15.”
Some of his nonfiction works include, but are not limited to, Island in the City, Revolt in the South, Between the Lines, Returning: A Spiritual Journey, Creating from the Spirit, The Story of Your Lifeand The Hijacking of Jesus. Wakefield has been a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly, a staff writer for Nation Magazine, a contributing writer for Gentleman Quarterly, a contributing editor of The Yoga Journal, and is on the review board of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion. Wakefield has been a recipient of the Neiman Fellowship in Journalism, the Rockefeller Grant for Creative Writing, and has received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Wakefield will also be a member of the heralded faculty for Converse’s Low-Residence Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, the only program of its kind in South Carolina, and one of only a handful in the region. Classes for the program will begin in February 2009.
How does Wakefield handle all of his endeavors? “I simply devote certain days to teaching – grading papers, holding class, reading material to discuss in class, and conferring with students. On the days I don’t teach I devote fully to whatever writing project I am doing,” said Wakefield.
“There are many reasons for why we wanted to invite Dan Wakefield to campus as part of our visiting writers series,” said Rick Mulkey, Associate Director of English and Director of Creative Writing. “He’s been an award-winning writer for several decades and has had success. In addition to his awards for writing and his writing experience, Dan has been an honored teacher of writing. Recently he received Florida International University’s Faculty Mentor Award for the work he has done with his students. But one important reason I wanted to invite to campus as a visiting writer is that starting in 2009 he will join our new low-residency MFA faculty as teacher of nonfiction and fiction, and I thought it would a great experience for our students and the community to meet Dan and for Dan to meet our community.”
Wakefield found an audience for his style of writing with the emergence of the “new journalist” movement in the 1960s and 1970s. “The new journalists were a group of reporters who ‘pushed’ the boundary of objectivity in journalism,” explained Susan Tekulve, Associate Professor of English at Converse. “Before this movement, the idea was that reporters should remain completely objective, or at least create the illusion that they are covering both sides of a story in a completely objective way. The new journalists spent extensive amounts of time with their sources, often living and working among them