Duke Youth Voice
Local Writer Comes to Talk to Duke Young WritersTuesday, June 26, 2012 By Rebecca Dowdy
Stuart Albright came to talk to the campers of the Duke Young Writers Camp on Thursday, June 21. He discussed his writing process, teaching, and his latest book: Bull City . Albright is a creative writing teacher and football coach at Jordan High School in Durham. He has two nonfiction books already published, Blessed Returns and Sidelines.. Bull City is Albright's first published work on fiction. Albright was very modest and when asked about himself he redirected many of his questions to his students and other people he knew. Since he was speaking at a writer’s camp, he discussed the writing process of his latest work of fiction. Writing at a certain time every day really helped to shape his voice. In writing the book, he stressed the importance of doing research. He described how when he was writing an interrogation scene, Albright interviewed an actual detective. In interviewing the detective, “the scene just wrote itself” according to Albright. Though when questioned further, he said that you need the right balance of imagination and research to create a piece of fiction. But then he looped back to the importance of research. One of the incidents that inspired him to write this book was the murder of UNC student Eve Carson, by one of his students. He talked about how racism was a big part of his writing and how he spent a summer in the slums of Camden, New Jersey. He went into detail about how much racism there was in Camden. He even wrote Blessed Returns about his experience there. Albright's passion for teaching was very evident in his speaking. He had campers do a short exercise where they wrote about one moment and expand on it using sensory details, describing all the sights, smells, and sounds in that moment. Albright won an award for his teaching from Teacher magazine, to which he said he had no clue why. Albright has a passion for everyone he teaches. Albright started a publishing company, McKinnon Press, for the students of Jordan High School. His students have inspired a great chunk of his writing. He even brought along a former student, Alec Lowman, for whom he will be publishing a novel this fall. He went in depth about the racial diversity in his class and all the conflicts that occur because of it. He described a scene that happened when he first started teaching. A fight broke out between a group of female immigrants and another gang of girls shortly after 9/11. Albright was disgusted with the racial profiling that started the fight. It was an event that helped spark the story that Bull City depicts.