Author encourages audience to ‘go out and create’

Sierra Marsh, Staff Writer

David Wyatt, a writer and an English professor from the University of Maryland, visited Wilkes University Feb. 21 as part of the Allan Hamilton Dickson fund spring writing series.

Wyatt has worked at the University of Maryland for more than 20 years and was named a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 1998. Specializing in American film and cultural studies, he has written many books that connect the history of America with literature.

His most recent novel is titled, “Secret Histories: Reading Twentieth Century American Literature” where he works to reveal American histories found in literature read worldwide.

“Literature gives us a kind of history we cannot get anywhere else,” Wyatt said. “And maybe one we so desperately need.”

Wyatt spoke Thursday evening on “Writing Secret Histories.” He read a piece that revolved around Toni Morrison’s work “Beloved” from “Secret Histories: Reading Twentieth Century American Literature” after explaining his writing and revision processes to students and faculty alike.

“Hearing the author speak about his own piece really helped us to understand his point of view and his voice,” junior English and Spanish major Elizabeth Dollman, sophomore English major Sarah Simonovich, and junior English education major Caitelyn Sofio all agreed.

He opened the floor up for questions and interacted with the audience about literary criticism, what he sees for the future of literature, and more in depth about his revisions.

“If one person in this room goes out and teaches, reads, writes, creates; I guess we’ll be OK,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt received his Ph.D in 1975 from the University of California in Berkeley. Although he teaches in Maryland, he commutes from Virginia where he taught before working at the University of Maryland. His other works include “Bishop in Love,” “La Fiction through Mid-Century,” “And the War Came: An Accidental Memoir,” and “Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California.”