Photo of author Jewell Parker Rhodes

A single book can change your whole life.

For award-winning novelist, college professor and Carnegie Mellon University alumna Jewell Parker Rhodes (DC 1975, 1976, 1979), it was Gayl Jones’ “Corregidora” in Hunt Library. 

“It was a revelation. Even though I wrote stories and poetry, I never thought I could be a writer,” Jewell recalls. “None of the characters I read about were black, and none of the authors were black. CMU’s library opened a horizon that I didn’t even know was possible for me.” 

She soon changed her focus from musical theater and dance to English and started a new path that would lead to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from CMU, a life in academia and an endowed chair in creative writing at Arizona State University, countless writing awards, two writing guides, a memoir, six adult novels and five (soon to be six) books for middle-grade students.  

Read more about Rhodes' career path.

News category: Using the Libraries