Creative Writing at The New School

Born in North Carolina and based in New York City, Whitney Kenerly is a writer, music critic, and journalist.

1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?

To me, the best antagonist isn’t a character—it’s fate. I find the inevitable really tragic in that sort of classical way. We will all age. We will all die. We all have things in our futures that we won’t be able to control. There’s something profound about that.

Growing up, I felt like every female protagonist was some small, demure girl who was trying to overcome her shyness and find her voice. I could not relate less. I was always too loud, too opinionated, and too smart-mouthed. Then I was introduced to Jo March in Little Women. That electric moment of recognizing myself on the page will always be close to my heart

2. When did you know you were a writer?

In second grade, we started the “Writer’s Workshop” curriculum. We each had a laminated folder where we could keep our drafts and were encouraged to free-write for an hour a few times a week. All the other students dreaded it. Like, there were audible groans when our teacher would announce it was time to write. I was like, “THIS IS FREEDOM!!!” It felt so liberating to have permission to be as weird and creative as I wanted. I remember two of my story titles: “Tick, Tock: Banana Clock” and “Part 2 of the Tale of the Iridescent Goo” (there was no Part 1). With that said, a professor once told me, “Never call yourself a writer. Just be a person who writes,” and that has always stuck with me. I only know I’m a writer when I’m writing.  

3. What are you currently working on?

For my thesis, I’m writing a lot of critical essays about music culture in this post-Napster internet era. We’ve lost physical record stores, we don’t make mixtapes for each other anymore, and we let algorithms pick the background soundtracks for our days. I think that has changed us in ways that we have yet to fully understand.

4. How has your writing process changed over the years?

I exclusively write in bed now.

5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.

I hope that I make people think while I’m making them laugh. 

Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.  

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