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Lifelong learning course discusses aging and writing

The Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL) will bring back its popular writing instructor, Gail Wilson Kenna, for “Wallace Stegner: On Aging and Writing.” The three sessions will take place on April 4, 11, and 18 (Thursdays), 1-3 p.m., at RCC’s Kilmarnock Center.

This course will consider the theme of aging in selected novels of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wallace Stegner, with discussion centering on his protagonist Joe Allston in “All the Little Live Things” and “The Spectator Bird.” Another topic will be the question of whether the act of writing might positively affect the process of aging.

A writer and retired university professor, Kenna has lived and taught in five countries in addition to the United States, and has taught various literature and writing courses for RILL since 2005. She has recently completed her fourth book.

In addition to winning a 2012 scholarship to the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Kenna has won no less than three awards in the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition sponsored by the San Francisco branch of the National League of American Pen Women: first place for an intercultural essay, second place for creative nonfiction, and honorable mention for a memoir vignette. She will attend the March 24 awards ceremony to read aloud from her winning essays. Interestingly, one of her students, Dr. Pirkko Graves, who has taken all of the RILL courses Kenna has taught, also won an honorable mention in the intercultural essay category.

Advance registration, with a tuition payment of $35, is required to take this course. For more information on “Wallace Stegner: On Aging and Writing” and other RILL courses, or to register, please call Sharon Drotleff at RCC’s Educational Foundation office (804-333-6707, or toll-free at 877-722-3679), or e-mail her at

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