Distinguished Writer visits Media in Modern Life class

Distinguished Writer visits Media in Modern Life class

Story by RSJ Student Writer Tyler Hersko

Award-winning novelist Jess Walter was recently honored by the Reynolds School and Nevada Humanities as the 2015 Laxalt Distinguished Writer.

Walter, a New York Times bestselling novelist and ex-newspaper reporter, was honored on Nov. 17 at the University of Nevada, Reno. During his time in Reno, Walter held a question and answer session with students in professor Ben Birkinbine’s Media in Modern Life class. He also held a discussion at Sundance Books and Music and led an evening lecture at the university.

During the question and answer session, students asked Walter a number of questions ranging from his creative writing process to handling writer’s block. He also touched on the changing state of journalism, and discussed the variety of skills an education in the field can offer to aspiring writers.

“You have great advantages, being a journalist,” Walters said. “The ability to write on deadline and a lack of preciousness about your work: Those things are so necessary in all kinds of writing in Hollywood, television shows, films, books and magazines. It’s the best kind of training as far as I’m concerned.”

Walter has authored eight books and has received several accolades throughout his career, including the 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Award for “Citizen Vince” and two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards. His latest novel, “Beautiful Ruins,” recently became the No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

The Laxalt Distinguished Writer Award was created in 2004 to honor journalist Robert Laxalt and serve as an inspiration to the next generation of writers.

According to Dean Al Stavitsky, Walter was the ideal recipient for the Laxalt Award.

“We look for writers who followed Laxalt’s path,” Stavitsky said. “He started in journalism and then went into other diverse forms of writing. Jess is exemplary in that regard.”

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