INTERVIEW WITH BETTYJOYCE NASH
When did you first feel like a writer?
The day I stopped relying on facts and literal-minded interpretation to tell a story. For a long time, I called myself a reporter, a witness who investigates and reports in service to a greater good. I still love reporting, but I eventually found even the most accurate, detailed eyewitness accounts and interviews don’t always reveal the deeper truths that interest me. When I started including motivations and undercurrents, I felt like a writer.
What's your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
Every good teacher is a student; writers who teach learn, too. As we read, write, and discuss work together, students learn to read like writers. Writers read carefully, examining not only what they’ve said, but whether they’ve said it well and whether readers grasp it. Like the process of writing itself, a writing class helps students find time to work and ways to reach readers more effectively.
Writing, like all art, relies partly on craft techniques that can be taught. Good self-editing, for example, is essential to good writing. Writing always can be made better. To write, as to draw, means seeing what’s there instead of what we expect or want.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Huck Finn. As I navigate my raft down my own Mississippi, Huck reminds me to take risks and question society’s conventions. And Huck also helps me lighten up.
BettyJoyce Nash is a journalist and fiction writer with an MS in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill Journalism School (1988) and an MFA in fiction from Queens University (2011). Her journalism has appeared in newspapers and magazines in North Carolina and Virginia; her fiction has been published in North Dakota Quarterly, Broad River Review, and C-Ville Weekly. In 2015, she won the F. Scott Fitzgerald contest. Her fiction has been recognized with fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among other artists’ colonies.
WHAT WRITERHOUSE STUDENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT BETTYJOYCE
“Very dedicated, accessible and knowledgeable instructor. BettyJoyce gave us a lot of useful tools. Content was useful for reading a variety of fiction and playing with many different prompts.”
“Great-approachable, widely read, useful feedback, very quick to answer emails and sent a lot of content between classes as well.”
“She had lots of examples, references, tips. Nice balance of reading and writing.”
“She’s wonderful! Knowledgeable and supportive. No recommendations for improving—she’s ideal!”
“Very well prepared.”