When did you first feel like a writer?
What's your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
I try to bring the same blue-collar attitude that I grew up with into the classroom, so I stress the daily process of writing and reading. A nonfiction teacher must mentor and guide students to not only examine the text at hand, but to also scrutinize their own backgrounds and ideas. I want to be certain my students are aware of the centuries-long dialogue swirling about them, and that they feel confident enough to enter into the discussion as writers and readers. Literature can expose us to something grander than our own experiences, it is most often words that help us understand and evaluate our beliefs.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Jay Varner is a Lecturer in the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University. He’s previously taught in the MFA program at Hollins University, at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and at the University of Virginia. His memoir, “Nothing Left to Burn,” was published by Algonquin Books and his work has appeared in BOMB, The Black Warrior Review, Oxford American Magazine, and numerous other places.
WHAT WRITERHOUSE STUDENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT JAY
“Jay is an excellent coach, editor, guide—and person.”
“Jay Varner could teach instructors how to teach. He is organized, thorough, clear, helpful, insightful.”
“Wonderful feedback, camaraderie—these classes add an important dimension to the writing life.”
“I’ve loved the 3-4 classes I’ve taken from Jay…. He is cream-of-the-crop in a roster of very talented WH instructors.”