About Rebecca

For ten years, since I retired in 2014, I have been reinventing myself—from a professor at the University of Hawaii to a writer and purveyor of intelligent entertainment.

You can check out my academic background here. My research area was Cultural Destruction, with a particular focus on the fate of books, libraries, and archives and the motivation that led regimes to destroy whole systems. Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the 20th Century, was published by Praeger in 2003.  This led me to an affiliation with the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Then, again by Praeger, in 2006, I published Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction. I wrote chapters in other books, wrote book reviews, and gave presentations and interviews, and became involved in the early stages of Blue Shield.

I decided to follow my interest in socialization, national identity, literature, and biography and published a third book, Children’s Literature and National Identity: Imagining a People and a Nation in 2012. It was a tentative move away from a standard academic work to something more creative. I was and am convinced that scholars have unearthed and explored treasure troves of information but speak mainly to each other and in a style that locks out non-academic readers. I believe that it is possible to write intelligent cross-over books which would appeal to a broader audience and expand public understanding, to put academic discoveries out there. This third book was a transition for me.

My plan as a writer was to marry the rigor of academic research and perspectives with the narrative, story-telling, literary techniques, and author involvement that typifies Creative Nonfiction. So, I retired in 2014 and moved to London for a two-year Creative Writing (non fiction)  program at City University. I had brought a project with me (Censoring Lives) and moved forward with it. It has just been published as Emily Dickinson Had to Have Curls: The Feminine Masks Forced on Women Writers and is available on Amazon.com. It was wonderful to put myself into the book with explorations of the lives of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century women writers. I visited their homes and burial sites (and became a volunteer at London’s Victorian Highgate Cemetery) and read their works and biographies as if starved. I joined the London Library and the Biography Club, went to talks at the British Library and London Review Bookshop, and lived the literary life in London. This experience is recorded in my memoir London Sojourn: How to Reinvent Yourself after 65.

As part of my conversion to popularizing nonfiction, I signed up for a nine-month Guiding Course at the University of Westminster (2014-2015). This was an intense immersion in how to construct and conduct street walks. It was, of course, fact-based storytelling.  I also listed with an agency and began to do special topics lectures on luxury cruise ships.  This involved preparing 45-minute Power Point lectures—again, structuring facts in an interesting, coherent way. My lectures focused on cultural preservation and destruction, cultural history, colonization, and biography. They were what the agency head called “intelligent entertainment,” delivered to audiences who wanted to learn.

I relocated in 2016 to Portland, Oregon, to be near family and devoted myself to writing. I survived COVID intact and adopted a puppy. I lecture on cruise ships, garden, and read voraciously. I joined Willamette Writers and served on the board of the Oregon Writers Colony and coordinated its Sylvia Beach Annual Writers Conference for three years. My friends in OWC tend to write fiction which is fine with me as I hope to continue absorbing fictional/literary techniques as a means of delivering facts. 

The Emily Dickinson book has just come out and my memoir, London Sojourn is in search of being published. I will then do more research and revise my nonfiction book on a turn of the twentieth century serial killer, a man who killed over 22 wives. It is tentatively titled:
“Good Women: The Forgotten Tale of a Pacific Northwest Serial Killer”

Page last updated: 06/22/24
Page created: 03/15/18