Wichita State News

WSU grad student earns master's degree, writes novel

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For Richard Davies, the countdown is on. Only a few days remain until he completes his master’s degree in fiction writing at Wichita State University.

Richard Davies

Davies has been studying at WSU off and on for the past 30 years, and is earning his second degree from the university, the first of which was a bachelor of fine arts.

Besides permanent student retirement, he has other things on his mind: getting published.

The 49-year-old father of two has authored a novel for his final project in the graduate program, and plans to submit it for publication as soon as he finishes his final draft.

The futuristic novel, titled “Heirloom,” looks at the negative effects of peak oil, predicting what events may occur after the depletion of the resource. Davies’ book will likely be the first of a series in a trilogy.

Along with working as a freelance journalist for a number of years, writing mainly for CBS.com, Davies has also written two screenplays, one of which placed in the top 20 out of several thousand entries in a prestigious screenplay and amateur filmmaking contest.

Davies has been back at WSU after first studying at the university in 1976.

He took nearly six years off to start a family while he owned and operated Kirby’s bar, located just south of the WSU campus, and completed his undergraduate degree in 1988.

Three years ago, he began graduate school and has been impressed with the program.

Davies said the instructors eagerly strive to teach students how to write well, and he believes he has made measurable improvements while learning the tools and methods he needs to become a successful author.

In addition to coursework, Davies has also acted as a graduate teaching assistant, interacting with more than 35 students on a regular basis.

Out of this experience came a love for teaching, which he found ironic since his mother had been telling him for years that she thought he would make an excellent teacher. He looked forward to each day he spent in the classroom.

“I would leap out of bed excited, thinking about what I would teach my students,” he said. “I ultimately want to work as an author and teacher.”

After Davies concludes his studies this semester, he plans to teach Introduction to Literature at Butler Community College this summer, and also as an adjunct instructor at WSU in the fall.

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Created on Tuesday, May 13, 2008; Last modified on Friday, May 30, 2008