Wednesday, Nov. 2 the Bowers Writers House welcomed author Bronwen Dickey for a craft talk and evening reading. Dickey discussed her writing strategy and personal approach to creating narratives and talked about her new biography, “Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon.”
“Bronwen has written a stunning book about the history and legacy of the pit bull in American culture and shows us how maligned the reputation of this dog breed has become,” director of Bowers Writers House Jesse Waters said. “Plus, she’s a brilliant young woman who writes about a wide variety of topics in her essay work and has published in some of the country’s most respected and popular magazines.”
At the craft talk led by Dickey, she had everyone go around the room to introduce themselves and to find out what area of writing each one of them wants to pursue. She wanted the talk to be a freeflow of information between her and the students.
Dickey discussed some of the challenges that she deals with when writing, such as fear, anxiety and procrastination. The students could relate to these challenges, so she offered guidance by sharing how she deals with them.
“For any writer, it is important that when their fears come true that they do not work for number of hours that they take breaks, go for walks, remember to sleep, socialize and have a good nutrition because these are all factors that can help overcome any struggle,” Dickey said.
Sophomores Bronwyn Morris and Elizabeth McIlhenney agreed that what they admired most about Dickey’s presentation was that she was open, honest, real, humorous and relatable.
“I thought that it was a great experience to go to; it was enlightening to hear about a writer’s process to find inspiration. I liked how the discussion was relatable,” Morris said.
“The impact that the discussion had on me was the topic of dealing with fear and anxiety because it is not a topic that writers want to hear about, but they have to because it happens to every one of them,” McIlhenney said.
During the evening reading, Dickey held a reading workshop, where she divulged the process of creating her book. The process consisted of socializing with dog owners, people who had been bitten by a pit bull or other breed of dog and animal shelter workers. She did this in order to gain insight into how and why pit bulls act the way they do.
Dickey then read a part from her book about animal welfare and some of the hardships that pit bulls go through. Dickey closed the discussion with a question and answer session.
“The focus should not be what a dog does wrong but the factors that play into why pit bulls or animals act the way they do is because of their environment and the people that surround them,” Dickey said.
Dickey explained that an encounter she had with a pit bull in 2008 made her realize how they are misunderstood. While at her friend Buzz Williams’ house, she was surprised when his pit bull sat on her lap and acted calm and sweet. This experience motivated her to write to a biography in order to uncover the layers of the issue surrounding pit bulls.
“Even for people who are not that big on dogs I want them to realize that due to information coming at us so fast from the media we are not able to completely understand the full truth behind what gets published.” Dickey said. “I hope that they will use my book as a tool for critical thinking and how the lives of people and pit bulls are intertwined.”