Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences author

A writer in chief

 Bill Gardner.Bill Gardner grew up on Pullman’s College Hill and thought for sure he was on track to be a teacher when he graduated from WSU. His father was a soil physicist at the University from 1950 to 1983. “I was 11 before I realized there were professions other than being a professor,” he says. “If I stood out at the end of my driveway, every house I saw had a professor living there.”

Gardner (’88, ’01 MA English), chief of Washington State University Police (and a published author), got into police work almost on a whim. He drove to the campus station with a friend who wanted to apply and decided » More …

The art and craft of historical narrative

Buddy Levy in the field.Buddy Levy, a longtime clinical professor in English, likes to make the trip.

He specializes in historical narrative, paying meticulous attention to detail, writing cinematically, and traveling to the sites of the stories he’s researching—sometimes several hundred years after they’ve occurred. Travel, he says, is necessary for scene-setting and description, and can be more meaningful than archival research.

His seventh book, Labyrinth of Ice, started with a visit to Greenland in 2003. But he was there to write about something else. Levy was covering a race in which » More …

Mothering a Book: Recollections of a WSU Author

Melanie Angela Neuilly and daughter. In her 2019 edited book “Mothering From the Field: The Impact of Motherhood on Site-Based Research,” WSU criminal justice associate professor Melanie-Angela Neuilly collected the experiences of academic researchers and mothers conducting their fieldwork while raising children. Neuilly’s own experience of juggling site work and motherhood in Nice, France, in 2014 is also chronicled.

Neuilly said she came to the book somewhat circuitously: In 2013, she obtained a WSU Seed Grant to conduct ethnographic field observations at » More …

Knowing malice beyond the pale

Winter knowing malice beyond the palePete Simi’s mother wanted him to understand racism, so when he was 9, they watched a PBS documentary on the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s how he remembers one Klansman who was interviewed. “He spoke with such passion, anger, such strong emotion. And it just struck me, as a young child, trying to understand what was driving this person, how this person could get so enmeshed in hate.”

That question stuck with Simi ’96 throughout his undergraduate studies at Washington State University and later as a graduate student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Simi, the author of American Swastika: Inside the White » More …

Where the trouble began

book cover and author portrait image“Fiction is a document of trouble,” says novelist James Thayer ’71. The trouble began for Thayer as a teenager reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on his father’s wheat farm in Almira.

“The narrator sees the Count leap to a window frame—and then crawl down the exterior of the castle wall like a lizard!” Thayer exclaims. “That scene scared me to death! It was a revelation as to the power of fiction.”

Now, decades later, the Seattle-based author of 14 novels teaches fiction writing through the University of Washington’s continuing education program. » More …