Best Selling Author Teaches Class

Best-selling author Rita Mae Brown visited William Woods University yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 6) and taught a class while she was on campus.

Author of the groundbreaking best seller “Rubyfruit Jungle” in 1973, Brown has written about 30 books since then, including several mysteries “co-authored” with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown.

Brown is on a tour promoting her latest novel, “Alma Mater,” which was published last month by Ballantine Books. She was scheduled to sign books in St. Louis last night, but traveled to Fulton to have lunch with Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, and Gayle Lampe, professor of equestrian science.

A member of the William Woods Equestrian Studies Board of Visitors, Brown also was the commencement speaker at WWU in May, 2000, and received an honorary doctor of letters at that time.

When she learned that one of the English classes had read her book “Outfoxed,” she decided to “pop in” on the class and talk to the students. Once there, she conducted a mini-session on language and communication.

Sarah Riddick, assistant professor of English, said she has been “using the horse as the central metaphor” for the class she calls “Reading and Writing the Horse.” Using classic literature and poetry, Riddick has the students read such authors as Shakespeare and Steinbeck and then write their own short stories and poems.

Twelve of the 13 students in the class are equestrian science majors and “we all have a passion for horses in common,” Riddick explained.

She was thrilled that Brown visited her class. “How many times do students get to meet the author of a book they’ve been studying?” she asked.