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Elissa Washuta comes to ONU for spring reading series

Author and professor Elissa Washuta reads sections from her nonfiction work in the Elzay Art Gallery (photo/NR/Dominic Turnea).

Elissa Washuta shares nonfiction work at Ohio Northern

Author and professor Elissa Washuta reads sections from her nonfiction work in the Elzay Art Gallery (photo/NR/Dominic Turnea).

It’s not everyday that two whimsically-talented writers get to present their written work to the Ohio Northern University campus.  Ohio Northern’s English Department hosted its semester English Department Reading Series on Monday, April 16 in the Elzay Art Gallery.  Guests chatted and enjoyed a variety of delicious food before attending the Gallery for the 7 p.m. reading. Senior creative writing and marketing double major, Nicholas Pesetsky read excerpts from his novella, The Fat Dog.  Pesetsky is from Olmsted Falls, Ohio, and is the editor in chief for The Northern Review.  Additionally, he is a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, Sigma Tau Delta, and a coordinator for L.O.V.E. Day, Ohio Northern’s annual spring semester service event. 

In addition to Pesetsky’s reading, ONU welcomed author Elissa Washuta to present her nonfiction work.  Washuta is an assistant professor of English at the Ohio State University, and is the author of "My Body is a Book of Rules", and "Starvation Mode".  One thing that inspires Washuta’s writing is to think of the stories one enjoys telling. 

“Can you think of a story you tell your friends over and over again?  We all have those stories, and we must not stop telling them,” Washuta said. 

Washuta tackles issues in her work, such as alcoholism.  In an essay from her upcoming book, Washuta discusses the difficulty of finding a certain D.A.R.E. advertisement.  With references to songs by Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins, Washuta enchants the audience with her wit and humor, pausing occasionally to share a laugh with the audience at times.  

Preservation is Washuta's secret to her nonfiction; she studies the craft while holding onto the difficult truths, then puts it onto paper. 

“I preserve the feeling, knowing that I can hold onto it as long as I want to,” Washuta says.

Despite being a nonfiction writer, Washuta draws plenty of inspiration from many sources of writers and stories.  Washuta offers three important tips for upcoming writers:

1.   “Read lots and read things recommended.  Read and write things you are not interested in. When I started writing, I was a fiction writer.

2.  “Write a lot.  And don’t be too attached to your first draft.

3.  “Know the process is slow.  Don’t worry about the product.” 


Washuta and Pesetsky’s reading concludes the 2017-18 English Department Reading Series, and the series will resume in the Fall 2018 semester. 

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