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Tennessee Tech English Professor Debuts Her First Book, Story Collection

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Tech English Professor Debuts Her First Book, Story Collection

A collection of short stories about African American women in a fictional Georgia town marks the writing debut of Tennessee Tech Professor Monic Ductan.

Ductan is a Associate English professor. She said “Daughters of Muscadine” began during her graduate studies. She finished writing the book at Tennessee Tech. She said that experience helped her grow as a teacher.

“One thing I always tell my students is, you want to write with a purpose,” Ductan said. “When you go into workshop, you’re going to get 100 different comments. you can’t listen to every comment at once, so it’s important to filter through and maybe only focus on the three or four comments that are the most helpful.”

Ductan said the stories represent the community she herself grew up in. Ductan said some of her most valuable feedback came from Tennessee Tech colleagues, naming Linda Null, her supervisor, and Ted Pelton, a fiction writer at the school.

“I have students who ask me all the time, how do you know when something is finished,” Ductan said. “I always say, give it to somebody that you really trust to read it for you. That way, you can get really good feedback instead of just having someone tell you ‘This is good,’” Ductan said.

Ductan said she is excited to have the book finished after years of writing. Ductan said she has always gravitated toward stories set in a rural environment like the one she grew up in. It is important to read across a vast spectrum of writers to see perspectives from different voices and learn styles of different types of writing, Ductan said. She said she has a writer’s group comprised of writers from across the globe who collaborate to share different writing processes and different storytelling voices.

“I hope that people will read it and feel as if they are a part of Muscadine,” Ductan said.

The book is composed of nine stories, each told through the perspective of a different narrator from the fictional town. Several historical moments from the civil rights movement form the backbone of the story with events branching off of those moments.

Ductan said she began writing the stories in the book as a graduate student at Georgia College.


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