By Ashley Fries

Margot Livesey                                                           Photo by Tony Rinaldo
Margot Livesey Photo by Tony Rinaldo

On Friday, Oct. 17, I had the privilege of attending a master class taught by Margot Livesey.

Livesey, 61, is Scottish born and the author of six novels and numerous short stories.

Livesey is currently a distinguished writer in residence at Emerson College. However, she has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers and Williams College.

She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Thanks to the KU English department, students from any major were able to partake in an hour-long master class.

Alex Snyder, an undeclared junior said, “It was wonderful. I could really relate it to my field even though it was meant for writers.” Snyder is currently attempting to get into the Graphic Design program.

Livesey’s master class was a rather intimate gathering of about ten to fifteen people.

While the attendance could have been better, I believe the smaller size was wonderful for the type of class. In fact, it was more like a discussion in the format of a Q&A than a class, but I believe that it was perfect.

My fellow students and I listened to Livesey’s stories and advice, and asked her questions, which she answered with enthusiasm and grace. Alexis Bleam, a graduate student said, “She is a fantastic woman who is genuine, tough, and greatly spirited.”

The class was extremely informative on many aspects of writing.

Personally, I learned a lot about improving my writing, developing characters, having good descriptions, researching, revising and battling writers block.

Livesey coming to KU was a wonderful opportunity that everyone should have taken advantage of.

It is not easy or inexpensive to bring these wonderful people to campus, and they do it for us. We need to make sure it is worth it for KU to keep hosting these events.

Learning from the presenters is a wonderful opportunity that should not be taken for granted.

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