Graham School Events

Writer's Studio Alumni Reading and Panel


Join the Writer’s Studio community to celebrate and learn from the work and experiences of Writer's Studio alumni Rita Dragonette, J. S. Puller, and Elizabeth Wheeler! We’ll start with a short reading from each alumna, and then Writer’s Studio instructor and creator of the former certificate in Creative Writing, Stephanie Friedman, will facilitate a panel that draws insights from these authors’ writing and publishing journeys. All are welcome to take part in this evening of story, celebration, and inspiration.

Learn more about the many ways you can write with us downtown and online at the University of Chicago Writer's Studio here.

Also, learn about Rita Dragonette's publishing journey in her interview with Writer’s Studio instructor Dina Elenbogen.

participant bios

Rita Dragonette is a former award-winning public relations executive turned author. Her debut novel, The Fourteenth of September, is a woman’s story of Vietnam which will be published by She Writes Press on September 18 and has already been designated a finalist in two 2018 American Fiction Awards by American Book Fest, and received an honorable mention in the Hollywood Book Festival. She is currently working on two other novels and a memoir in essays, all of which are based upon her interest in the impact of war on and through women, as well as on her transformative generation. She also regularly hosts literary salons to introduce new works to avid readers.

Stephanie Friedman, former Writer’s Studio program director, has had work published in Michigan Quarterly Review, among other venues, and a “distinguished” story listed in Best American Short Stories. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MA in English from the University of Chicago. In addition to serving as associate director of Summer Session at the University of Chicago, Stephanie continues to teach creative writing at the Writer’s Studio. This fall, she is teaching The Drama of Thought in Fiction.

J. S. Puller, a playwright and author of Captain Superlative, is from the Windy City, Chicago. She has a master's degree in elementary education and a bachelor's degree in theatre from Northwestern University. She is an award-winning member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education and is actively involved in researching the social-emotional benefits of arts education with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. When not writing, she can usually be found in the theatre. Her play, Women who Weave, was published by Playscripts, Inc.

Elizabeth Wheeler enjoys writing, directing, and teaching. As a teacher, she's inspired by the real-world examples of how students, facing adversity, persevere and transform into triumphant adults. As an advocate for student storytelling in the print, performance, and digital world, she has spoken internationally as well as at educational and literary conferences. The Asher Trilogy, an award-winning young adult series, follows two years in the life of Asher Price as he uses his passion for photography to make sense of his crush on Garrett, his parents' divorce, and his faith. A fifth generation Floridian, Elizabeth now lives in Illinois with her husband, two sons, and two cats.

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