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Homecoming for Award-Winning Authors: Three Alums Return for Whitman’s Visiting Writer Reading Series

By Ananya Mehrotra ’27 & Monica Hernandez Williams

Three Whitman College alums are being featured in the college’s 2023–2024 Visiting Writers Reading Series (VWRS)

Writing Week at Whitman will feature Zoë Ballering ’12, Katey Schultz ’01 and Jim Whiting ’65. Throughout the week, the authors will share their writing and work in a series of events for students. 

Free and open to the public! The week of events ends with a reading by Ballering and Schultz on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at 7 p.m. in the Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom. Find more information. 

Meet the Authors 

Portrait of Zoë Ballering ’12Zoë Ballering studied English Language and Literature and graduated from Whitman in 2012. She is a writer, teacher and the Interim Associate Dean of Admission Communications and Special Projects at Reed College. 

Ballering writes fiction inspired from her diverse array of job experiences—appearing in Electric Literature’s “Recommended Reading,” “Craft,” “Hobart” and others. Ballering’s collection of stories—“There Is Only Us” (UNT Press, 2022) won the 2022 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.

Portrait of Katey Schultz ’01Katey Schultz graduated from Whitman in 2001 with a degree in Philosophy. She has taught all over the country and is the founder of Maximum Impact, a mentoring service for creative writers that has been recognized by both CNBC and the What Works Network. 

Her award-winning books, “Flashes of War” (Apprentice House, 2013) and “Still Come Home” (Apprentice House, 2019), have been recognized for their depth and insight. Among a long list of accolades, Schultz has earned national recognition including medals from the Military Writers Society of America and 2020 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year for “Still Come Home.”

Portrait of Jim Whiting ’65Jim Whiting graduated from Whitman in 1965 with a degree in Philosophy, followed by an M.A. from Claremont Graduate University. Over his career, he has written hundreds of children's nonfiction books—on topics ranging from science to sports to classical music and more. His writing and editing credits include a variety of other genres including, short fiction, magazine articles and sports coverage. 

How Whitman Nurtures the Writer’s Mind

Whiting credits his Whitman College education for his ability to write across topics and audiences. 

“None of this would have happened if I had gone anywhere else,” Whiting says. “I like to say that my oeuvre provides an advertisement for the value of a liberal arts education, as Whitman provided me with a lively curiosity about so many things.”

Katey Schultz agrees, “more than anything else, my four years at Whitman taught me how to apply thinking to language. I learned how I learn, and that empowered me to move through life with clarity, as well as take on new experiences with confidence.”

Katrina Roberts, the Director of the VWRS says the series is an opportunity for students to connect with alums who've dedicated their lives to writing. All students—no matter their major—are encouraged to attend to learn from and network with these alums. Besides the readings, students will have the opportunity to take part in virtual and in-person workshops, says Roberts, who is also the Mina Schwabacher Professor of English/Creative Writing and Humanities at Whitman.

“This is exactly the type of setting where I got my start as a writer,” says Ballering. “I remember attending the Visiting Writers Reading Series as a student and sitting in the balcony of Kimball Theatre. I'm excited to once again be in a room full of Whitties including my fellow writers. It feels like a wonderful full-circle moment to come back and read from my own work to inspire the next generation.”

About Whitman’s Visiting Writers Reading Series

The Visiting Writers Reading Series brings established and emerging writers to share their work with the community. The 2023-2024 VWRS will close with Maggie Nelson on Thursday, April 4, 2024. 

The series is sponsored by the Department of English, the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, the Lawrence Parke Murphy and Robert Goldstein Trust, and by generous donations from the extended Whitman community. 

Published on Mar 4, 2024
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