Katrina Roberts - Because You Asked book coverFor more than 15 years, Katrina Roberts—the Mina Schwabacher professor of English, creative writing and humanities—has curated the Visiting Writers Reading Series, which brings noted writers to campus to read from their work, answer questions and meet with students interested in the craft of creative writing.

Now, Roberts has gathered anecdotes and advice, writing approaches and new work by many of the program’s visiting writers in one volume, Because You Asked: A Book of Answers on the Art and Craft of the Writing Life, published by the University of Washington Press. In the book, poets and authors share aspirations and confessions, warnings and challenges, passions, foibles and craft notes, often drawing on their interaction with young writers and readers during their careers and during their time at Whitman.

Roberts said that she loves the way that writers who have visited campus and spent time with students have all come together within the pages of her book, creating a sense of juxtaposition and community.

“I feel the presence of all these writers here, in my day-to-day life, in my discussions with students about writing, and in the buildings on campus and in town,” Roberts said. “In this way, the anthology is, in part, an attempt to honor and demonstrate my appreciation for the institution that’s supported the series through the years.”

Because You Asked was recently named as a finalist for the national 2016 Firecracker Award, an honor presented by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. Poets and Writers magazine also listed it as one of its “best books for writers.”

“As a teacher, I'm so grateful for the way this book has been able to bring together so many facets of both my work in the classroom,” Roberts said. “As a writer/scholar, it's such a gift to see it valued by writers and readers way beyond our campus. Visitors have engaged our students, have been inspired and challenged by our students, and have inspired our students to go on to write their own wonderful works!”

Whitman’s Visiting Writers Reading Series brings established and emerging writers to share work with the community. The series is sponsored by the English Department with additional support from the Mabel Groseclose Fund.