Visiting Author

On October 21st, the WRA community had the opportunity to hear from exciting guest speaker Stephen Markley, author of the award-winning debut novel Ohio. The lauded writer initiated his visit with a conversation at breakfast with faculty, followed by a fascinating lecture delivered during Morning Meeting. During his talk, Markley discussed his various struggles of his life as an itinerant and a freelance author, as well as his journey to becoming a renowned author recognized by the New York Times and National Public Radio (NPR).

In addition to humorous anecdotes about his life experiences, Markley spoke openly about his writing process. While he did not take anyone from his hometown and create a one-to-one character equivalent, Markley emphasized the fact that he drew elements of his characters from the world in which he grew to maintain authenticity to his Ohioan roots. Though he prefers to write novels, Markley also announced that he is currently developing a mini-series adaptation of his novel in the style of Sharp Objects and Pretty Little Liars.

Throughout the rest of his stay, Markley also paid visits to various English classes that had had the opportunity to read a short story of his. In these class visits, he spoke further about personal anecdotes and his advice for writing. Markley also volunteered his time to discuss his writing advice and answer questions at two lunches: one for the executive staff members of Western Reserve Academy’s various literary publications, and one for students currently taking Creative Writing.

Finally, Markley hosted both a reading of an excerpt of his novel and a question-and-answer session regarding his text to provide advice in general for all students and faculty. Thank you for visiting campus, Mr. Markley, and best of luck on your future endeavors!

-Jasmine Wheeler ’20

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