• Q&A With WriteByNight Consultant Jeanine Walker


    Jeanine Walker (Seattle, Washington) holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston, where she was awarded the Donald Barthelme Fellowship for both fiction and poetry. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Hobart, Narrative, PageBoy, and elsewhere. She leads creative writing workshops through Everett Community College, the Richard Hugo House, and Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program, was the April 2018 poet-in-residence for Seattle Review of Books, and writes for the stage for the comedy show Mixed Bag.



    Where are you from?

    I’m from south-central Pennsylvania, a small town called Mechanicsburg.


    Where did you study?

    I earned a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Houston in 2008. Before that, I received an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University and a BA in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    I was a pretty dedicated story-writer as a kid, and I started writing poetry as a 9th grader. I became very committed to both genres and have written full-length novels, short stories, and plenty of poems!


    Who are some of your influences?

    My 9th grade English teacher, Lloyd Sheaffer, was a huge influence. He read everything I brought to him to read outside of class for four years. I love the writing of Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki, Richard Price, Mary Gaitskill — and poets: Marie Howe, Alan Shapiro, and Kathleen Flenniken are some of my favorites.


    What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    I find revising personal essays to be the most challenging, although the challenge is also really rewarding. I have readers who offer great suggestions, but often changing one aspect of the essay sets off a chain reaction. When something I think at first might be an easy fix results in so much revising, well, that can be hard. I do, though, feel fantastic once I’ve done all the work and it reads the best way it can.


    What’s the last book you read and what did you think of it?

    The last book I read was Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. I loved it! I love the strong main character and how Ozeki is committed to getting into two different cultures in her novels.


    What’s the last movie you saw that was based on a book and how was it?

    I saw A Hologram for the King based on Dave Eggers’ novel by the same name. I like his style; he’s very direct and methodical in his writing. The movie seemed to have the same feel, so I think it was successful. As a word lover, though, I’m always going to prefer the book to the movie.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    Read a lot, write a lot, and find readers you can trust. I learned everything I know about writing from reading great books, continuing to practice the craft, and having strong readers who offered useful critiques along the way.


    Interested in working with Jeanine? Request a free consult now

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