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From Georgia to Florida: Janisse Ray is a "Cracker"-in-Residence at FGCU
10/29/2001

FORT MYERS, FL - Writer Janisse Ray is spending her time these days nurturing others to put pen to paper as a visiting scholar-in-residence at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The scholar-in-residence program, in the College of Arts and Sciences, supports scholars who conduct their own work or research while also contributing to the work of FGCU. Ray is teaching "Colloquium: A Sustainable Future" and "Creative Nonfiction: Writing the Natural World." In addition to teaching her classes, Ray will conduct or participate in a master seminar, writer's conference or campus reading. She will be visiting FGCU through May 2002.

Milkweed Editions published Ray's first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, in 1999. Her latest book, After Beulah, will be available within about two weeks. Recently she completed work for Audubon and National Geographic magazines. While at FGCU, she is working on her next manuscript.

FGCU's mission includes civic engagement and community outreach, as well as ecological literacy. The program backs a scholar-in-residence whose work provides a vision of a better world through connecting humans with the healing power of the landscape. The College of Arts and Sciences supports the scholarship of writers and thinkers whose aim is to nurture the human spirit, such as Ray.

"My next manuscript is about childhood," Ray said. "We have become industrialized and we seem to be leaving children behind. I really worry about our children. The research I'm working on now is the part that the natural world plays on childhood."

Ray earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in 1997, with an emphasis on nature writing, poetry and nonfiction. In 1984, she received a BA in English from Florida State University.

FGCU an accredited comprehensive public university, FGCU addresses the higher educational needs of Southwest Florida and provides a learning-centered environment that offers high quality educational opportunities for the general public, such as scholars-in-residence.

Ray is making good use of her time while in Southwest Florida. On Nov. 29, the Pine Island Library will feature her during a book discussion group. She will read at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Ray at (941) 590-7263 or jray@fgcu.edu.

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