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rtress White ’09 AS was attracted to being a writer when she was in high school in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, a small town near Springfield. Her parents had a bookshelf that she also considered her first little library. “They had some writers and books that intrigued me on their shelf. The two that stand out for me now … I was reading above my age 42

Fall 2019

level … were James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” I read them when I was very young, and the things I didn’t understand I skipped over,” she says. “What resonated with me, though, was that these were stories of African Americans that I could identify with. I believe that’s where my interest in storytelling began.

She started to jot her own thoughts on paper and received encouragement from a high school English teacher after she wrote a story about two ballet dancers — one black like herself and the other white. “He gave the story an A, and said I should keep writing,” she says. White wanted to pen feature stories for Vogue magazine and become editor. She dabbled with poetry in

Profile for UK Alumni Association

Fall 2019 Kentucky Alumni Magazine  

Fall 2019 Kentucky Alumni Magazine