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John Jakes '53 to Return to Campus This Fall as Writer-in-Residence

July 14, 1979

John Jakes 1979.jpgJuly 14, 1979, Greencastle, Ind. - Bestselling author John Jakes was a DePauw University sophomore when he sold his first story in 1951. This fall, nearly thirty years later and with over 18 million of his books in circulation, the 1953 graduate is coming back to his alma mater to offer students what he says will be "a practical approach to the practical problems of writing."

As DePauw's writer-in-residence this fall, Jakes will teach a seminar in English composition. Up to 12 seniors who have had at least three composition courses beyond the freshman level will get to study with "Professor" Jakes.

"I imagine he'll conduct the seminar like a workshop," says Walker Gilmer, chair of DePauw's English EC Postcard 60s.jpgdepartment. "One or two students will be responsible each week for presenting an assignment. They will mimeograph copies of their stories and distribute them to other members of the class. The seminar itself will be largely devoted to a discussion of the merits of writing."

Dr. Gilmer adds that the opportunity to work with Jakes is "tremendously exciting. The students I've talked to are quite thrilled about it."

John Jakes has become the toast of the publishing industry since he began writing about the fictional Kent family in the popular American Bicentennial Series. Many of the books have been made into television shows.

As for that first story in 1951? Jakes sold it for $25 to Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. It described a nightmare struggle-to-death between a man and a demonic toaster. The toaster won.

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