Joni Tevis visits Hamline CWP

The Creative Writing Programs and English Department bring author Joni Tevis to campus for public readings, class visits and interviews.


Paul Patane

Creative nonfiction writer Joni Tevis at the Runestone interview, answering questions asked by the student editorial board on Thursday, March 10. The interview will be published in Runestone Journal, vol. 2.

Kalli Wilson, Reporter

With seven class visits, two public readings, and an interview; Joni Tevis’ schedule for visiting Hamline this past week was packed. Author of “The World is on Fire” and “The Wet Collection,” Tevis is nationally known for her work.

“It’s wonderful to be here. I used to teach here when I lived in Minneapolis, and so… it’s good to be back,” Tevis said. During her time as a professor at Hamline, she worked in the English Department teaching introduction to creative writing and first-year writing courses. Now she has come back to visit Hamline, allowing students to learn and be inspired by her work as an author.

Tevis visited Bachelor of Fine Arts classes, taught by Bonnie Ploger, professor in the Biology Department, a master class with advanced students in creative nonfiction and the senior seminar class for Creative Writing. However, students who did not attend any of these classes can learn more about Tevis in the next issue of Runestone Journal, Hamline’s national online undergraduate literary magazine.

On Thursday, Mar. 10, student editors from Runestone interviewed Joni Tevis for their online feature that comes out later this Spring. According to Allison Nordman (‘16), General Operations Assistant for Runestone, Tevis was asked about her writing journey, craft choices, editing and publishing processes and more.

“The entire group read her book ‘The World is on Fire,’ and it’s just brilliant,” she said. “We’re all really grateful to have an opportunity like this.”

It was a collaborative effort for the magazine. The entire class participated in both drafting and asking questions for Tevis during the interview.

Tevis was chosen as the “ACTC visiting writer in collaboration with the English Department,” said Mary Rockcastle, Director of the Creative Writing Programs.

She elaborated on how the selection process works.

“In the Creative Writing Program, we rotate writers of different genres,” Rockcastle said. “So our students get the opportunity to work with nationally known writers in their own genre.”

Each year, two nationally-known authors working in genres such as poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction are asked to visit Hamline. In the creative nonfiction category, Tevis was at the top of the list for the Creative Writing Programs. This allows students to work with a writer whose work they’ve studied and “to be inspired by someone doing what they dream of doing in a successful way,” Rockcastle said.

For those aspiring authors or students interested in creative writing, Tevis offers her advice. “Read a lot and write a lot and never give up,” she said. “Be tenacious!”

For further literary inspiration, “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt is Tevis’ novel suggestion. She said, “It’s wonderful, everyone should read it.”

Both of Tevis’ creative nonfiction books, “The Wet Collection” and “The World is on Fire” were published by Twin Cities nonprofit publisher, Milkweed Editions. For more information on the books or Tevis, visit her website at: