Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 8, 2009

Three Local Authors to Present Inaugural Endowed Reading April 24 at Whitworth in Honor of Late Professor Nadine Chapman

Spokane authors Beth Cooley, Sarah Conover and Laura Read will be Whitworth's endowed readers for the inaugural Nadine Chapman Endowed Reading, named in honor of the late Nadine Chapman, associate professor of English at Whitworth. The three writers will read from their works on Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. A book sale and reception will follow the reading. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253.

Whitworth plans to invite local authors to campus each year to read their poetry, prose or creative nonfiction in memory of Chapman, who died in July after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer.

"Nadine started the creative nonfiction course, which is now a regular part of our creative writing curriculum," says Whitworth English professor Doug Sugano. "She influenced a whole generation of students who now want to write in creative nonfiction and memoir."

The three presenters for the inaugural endowed reading are friends and former colleagues of Chapman's. Beth Cooley is a native of North Carolina who received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her young adult novel, Ostrich Eye (2004), won the Delacorte Prize for First Young Adult Novel. Her second novel, Shelter (Delacorte Press/Random House) came out in 2006. She has published poetry in a number of journals and magazines. She lives in Spokane with her husband, Dan Butterworth, who teaches literature and writing at Gonzaga University; their two daughters attend Western Washington University.

Sarah Conover holds a B.A. in religious studies from the University of Colorado, a B.A. in education from Gonzaga University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University. She is the founder and editor of the This Little Light of Mine book series (Eastern Washington University Press). The inaugural volume, Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents, a collection of Buddhist tales, was recommended in 2001 by Booklist as one of the five best spiritual books for children, while the second, Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs, was cited by Newsweek as one of the best multicultural books of 2004, and was also the winner of the 2004 Aesop Prize, presented by the American Folklore Society. Conover was a contributing co-editor of the third book in the series, At Work in Life’s Garden: Writers on the Spiritual Adventure of Parenting, a collection of literary essays. Her fourth book in the series, Harmony: A Treasury of Chinese Wisdom for Children and Parents, has just been released.

Conover also is the co-author of Daughters of the Desert: Remarkable Women from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions (SkylightPaths Press, 2003). Her poetry has appeared in Rock and Sling, the Santa Clara Review, Pontoon 10, Floating Bridge Review, and Family Pictures. Conover lives in Spokane, where she teaches English and radio production.

Laura Read teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Spokane Falls Community College. She has published poems in a variety of journals, including The Sow’s Ear, The Red Rock Review, and Edgz. Her work is forthcoming in Poet Lore. She has been a finalist in the Floating Bridge chapbook contest and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Spokane with her husband and their two young sons.  

The Nadine Chapman Memorial Fund has been established to honor, through the annual endowed reading, Chapman's profound contributions to the Whitworth community. In her 12 years of teaching at Whitworth, Chapman inspired hundreds of students through her devoted teaching, her sensitivity, and her deep friendships. Many of her students have gone on to graduate programs in literature and creative writing and have become professional writers. Her students recall her gracefulness and her dedication to the craft of writing, and the university hopes that the endowed reading will inspire those who may not have known her to discover and share the joy she found in creative writing.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Doug Sugano, professor of English, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4212 or dsugano@whitworth.edu.

Lisa Sem-Rodrigues, program assistant, English department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3253 or lrodrigues@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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