Writer gives students insight


Author Ann Pancake was introduced to the Susquehanna community on Oct. 23 as a part of the university’s Writers Institute Visiting Writers Series.
Pancake’s sense of rhythmic prose and lyrical tendencies bring attention to what is incredible and noteworthy about the world. Each story told within her collections depicts what is wonderful out of the ordinary. Pancake advised student writers to take what they have, not to rush and to cherish their material for its worth.
“The reality is, to become a fiction/prose writer takes a long time. Certain ways of knowing takes a while. To make good art, you need to be patient,” Pancake said. “You need to spend time in your own conscience. Be forgiving of yourself and most of all be patient with yourself.”
Pancake has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Arts Creative Writers’ Fellowship Grant, for her short story collections and novel.
“She is brilliant. I wasn’t sure at first, but she is an example of someone who really knows her craft. As a writer, I appreciate that the most,” senior Madeline Distasio , said of Pancake during her reading Wednesday night.
Pancake separates herself from other writers with her use of an oblique way of storytelling. Instead of laying it all out for the reader, she makes her audience dig beneath the surface. Like an iceberg, there is more than meets the eye within her stories. There is something to be unraveled, explored and, above all, experienced upon reading one of her many works.
Pancake said that throughout her life she has been exposed to literature and its effect on the person.
Graduating summa cum laude from West Virginia University, Pancake earned her master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina, and finally a doctorate in English from the University of Washington.
Her extensive knowledge in writing and literature has sent her all over the globe teaching her techniques within areas of Japan, American Samoa and Thailand. After coming back from a year teaching overseas, Pancake said that she now teaches in a low-residency Master of Fine Arts program at Pacific Lutheran University.
Pancake has not only become an inspiration for Susquehanna students, but for alumni as well.
Ingrid Davidsen, of the Class of 1969, said: “I was fascinated by her stories. Working with new authors and being able to watch and listen to an established author was refreshing. Her story presented at the reading pulled me in completely, and her quality of writing really shined through.,”
Pancake said that her work has not only been the inspired by her past but also by many other people.
Pieces of Pancake’s works are available for purchase at the campus bookstore.