Holly Bowers is the incoming online editor for the Little Patuxent Review. She is currently a student in the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, where she is focusing on creative nonfiction. Holly also works as the copy and content editor at DuckerFrontier, a global research and consulting firm located in Washington, DC. Her prior experience includes roles in marketing, research, and editing. Holly’s love of the literary life was honed at Dickinson College, where she graduated with a degree in English in 2012. She has lived in Northern Virginia since then. Holly loves to travel, and collects books from independent bookstores in every city she visits.
We’re very grateful to have Holly joining our team as online editor. She will be responsible for all the content that appears on our website. In this post, she answers a few questions as an introduction.
Q: How did you first learn about LPR and what made you interested in becoming online editor?
An instructor in the writing program at Johns Hopkins University first introduced me to LPR. The more I read, the more I fell in love with LPR’s mission and dedication to the local artistic community. Honestly, it was the website columns “Concerning Craft” and “Meet the Neighbors” that really pulled me in! Getting involved in the local writing community has been one of my favorite aspects of my graduate program, and joining the team at LPR seemed like a way to take that further.
Q: Who are some of your favorite writers?
I always struggle to answer this question, because it can change based on what I’ve read recently. Jane Austen is a constant. My other current favorites include David Grann, Rebecca Traister, Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado, and Mary Oliver.
Q: When and how did you decide to pursue writing seriously?
I think I’m still very much in the process of giving myself permission to say that I am pursuing writing seriously—that I am a writer. But to the extent that I have gotten there, it is because I’ve carried a germ of biography with me for several years, and I’m committed to telling that story. That was my big motivator for taking the plunge and enrolling in the MA in Writing Program at Hopkins. I knew that that program could give me the tools and the time that I hadn’t been carving out on my own.
Q: You are now in the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University. How is that going?
It’s wonderful! I love being a student, and I feel like being in classes with other writers, studying craft and critiquing each other’s work, has really electrified my thinking about my own writing. The opportunity to study with great writers and to just spend time talking about literature and process is such a privilege, and I’m trying to make the most of it. The program has also helped me realize that I have more in me than just this biography.
Q: Any writing projects or plans for this summer?
Yes! I’m taking a summer intensive on narratives of the American West. It’s going to be a week of reading, discussions, workshopping, and author talks in Missoula, Montana, and I am very excited. When it comes to my own work, I’ll be using the summer to do secondary research and transcribe newspaper articles. I’m writing about a war correspondent in the First World War, and all of her articles are on pretty poor-quality scans from microfilm. One of my big projects is transcribing each article so that I have a clean digital copy—it’s much easier on the eyes than 1918 newsprint! I’m really enjoying that process so far. It’s giving me a chance to really sink into her writing voice, and I feel like an archaeologist pulling these lost words out of the dark corners of the archives. It’s giving her a voice back, in a way. Apart from that, I’m hoping to apply for a few grants so that I can do more archival research.
Q: What might be some other passions or activities that are important in your life?
Being part of LPR is allowing me to indulge my passion for literature, so I feel very lucky in that sense. But when I’m not working, doing homework, or writing for myself, I’m an advocate for reproductive rights and a (recovering) runner. And I love to travel. I’m taking a few days after my class this summer to go to Glacier National Park, which will move me one park closer to visiting all of the national parks!