Visiting Writer Richard Ford Inspires Students

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Ford visits with students, including Kennedy ZumMallen and Gregory Vance. Photo by Paul Andress.
Ford during his talk. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jason Walton.

On January 13, Richard Ford came to Prep to talk to the 9th-12th grade students about his career as a writer. He was born in Jackson, MS in 1944. After graduating Murrah High School, he went to Michigan State University. He was inspirational to students because he struggled with dyslexia but overcame his disability to be successful.

He is best known for his books Independence Day and Canada. He taught at many places including Ole Miss, Harvard, and most recently Columbia. He says he can write anywhere as long as it is quiet. His motivation for being successful was he was scared of failure. He said the reason why so many writers have come from Mississippi is because we talk too much.

He was inspired by Mississippi writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. His mom’s approval of Eudora Welty showed him that being a writer was an ok job to have. In closing he told students to try to talk themselves out of being writers. He said if you can not talk yourself out of it, then you know you should be one.

Ford previously visited Prep in 1988 (see link below).

Ford with Dr. Walton. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jason Walton.
Ford with librarian Ms. Norma Cox, coordinator of the Visiting Writers’ Series. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jason Walton.
Ford lunches with students. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jason Walton.