August 29, 2013
by Kayleigh O'Brien '16
The first time that Knox College student Becky Harwell wrote a manuscript, she was eight years old.
As a junior in high school, she was already on her fourth novel -- about an 18-foot tall superhero named Jupiter. This work, The Thunderbird Project, was published August 13 by Bedlam Press, an imprint of Necro Publications.
"Since coming to Knox, I've gained a better sense of my weakness as a writer," says Harwell, who is from Forest Lake, Minnesota, and plans to major in creative writing. "Part of it is simply being surrounded by so much talent."
Assistant Professor of English Cyn Kitchen, for example, taught Harwell in a fiction-writing class and helped decipher her book contract. Harwell also explains that critiques from Knox students and faculty have helped improve her stories and writing.
This creative support is exactly what attracted her to Knox.
"The strength of the creative writing program was a big factor. That's what pointed me to Knox in the first place. When I visited the campus, it just "'clicked.'"
Now a sophomore, Harwell is an editor of Quiver, Knox's genre magazine. She works with students who are just as passionate as she is about writing and reading.
After graduating from Knox, Harwell plans to continue her studies, either in library sciences or by pursuing an MFA in creative writing and becoming a professor. She also hopes to keep writing novels.
Harwell says she is working to overcome more issues with her writing, such as her struggle with producing short stories. "Learning how to write good short stories is invaluable to a novelist because it forces you to do more with less and master the art of brevity," she says.
Most recently, she has finished and submitted a young adult, outer space soap opera novel and is working on an epic fantasy young adult manuscript.
For now, Harwell will continue growing as a writer and a person over the next three years at Knox while absorbing critiques, techniques, and, most importantly, experiences.
"Coming to Knox has improved my writing in significant ways simply by being a new and sometimes challenging experience," she says. "Most writing is inspired by life, even science fiction and fantasy -- my favorite genres to write. Coming to Knox has enlarged my perspective and given me much more to draw on as writer."