First Kisha


Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel, a creative writing teacher at Whitman College in Walla Walla, will headline this month’s First Draft Writers’ Series.

The free event is Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at Pendleton Center for the Arts, 214 N. Main St. After Schlegel’s presentation, there will be an open mic for local writers to read from their work.

Schlegel’s first book of essays, “Fear Icons,” won the inaugural Gournay Prize from Mad Creek Books. Also, it was recently announced that it’s on the long list chosen by editors for The Believer Book Awards. The short lists and winners will be announced in The Believer’s April/May issue. And, the winners will be honored during the April 25 opening night ceremony of the 2019 Believer Festival in Las Vegas.

The collection features answers to the question, “Who are we to each other when we’re afraid?” From Donald Trump and the Virgin Mary to Darth Vader and the Dalai Lama, Schlegel explores what it means to be human, a woman, an artist and a parent. She also explores the similarities between fear and faith — highlighting the ways faith takes shape.

Schlegel has published essays in the Tin House blog, The Kenyon Review and Conjunction. In addition, she is a recipient of the Richard J. Margolis Award, an Iowa Arts Grant, a Washington State Grant for Artist Projects and a writing residency at the Bloedel Reserve.

Schlegel is a graduate of the University of Montana’s Environmental Writing Institute and the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa.

Showcasing notable Pacific Northwest authors, First Draft Writers’ Series meets the third Thursday of each month. For more information about the writers’ series, call 541-278-9201 or visit

For more about Schlegel, go to Also, she encourages people to view some of her student’s work at


Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at or 541-564-4539

Community Editor

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