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Andrea Lunsford
Professor of English and Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric

English Professor Andrea Lunsford is Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric and a scholar of rhetoric and composition studies. This will be a particularly interesting conversation because Professor Lunsford writes about writing -- from college writing handbooks to scholarly analyses of women's rhetoric, collaborative writing, and other topics -- so her reflections on her own writing process will provide unique insights. Her books include The St. Martin's Handbook, Everything's an Argument, The Everyday Writer, Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition, The Presence of Others, and Singular Texts/Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing.


“I are writing, or writing are me,” Andrea Lunsford jokes at the beginning of our conversation, parodying the name of the toy store. But when Professor Lunsford toys around with writing, it’s serious business, and she’s been doing it for years. She’s one of the foremost experts on composition and rhetoric – her publisher even brands her books with the slogan: “The Difference is Lunsford” – and as director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, she’s made a major difference, putting into practice years of research and experience to create one of the most innovative writing programs in the country. So it’s especially interesting to hear how she has to struggle to practice what she preaches. She confesses that she hates revision, but she has learned “to accept the really arduous revision process, which I don’t like, but which I do.” She reveals that “I don’t like to really start writing until I can feel what I call the shape of my argument.” Consequently, she has to struggle to find an “arc in my head and can see where I’m going” in order to begin the process. She shares a remarkable range of experiences, from her relationships with editors, to the way she wrestles with writing blocks, to her memories of her first writing experiences as a child. “I believe that all writing is collaborative,” she explains of her work with other writers. “No matter what you’re doing, even if you’re sitting by yourself at your computer you’re collaborating with somebody, something you’ve read, or some voices you’ve got in your head, or your friends, or something, there’s some kind of collaboration going on.” In this conversation, we can see all the ways that we can begin to collaborate with Andrea Lunsford, and they are myriad.

Thursday, January 16, 2003, 7 p.m.
Stanford Writing Center, Basement of Margaret Jacks Hall (Bldg. 460)