By Joseph Durante
The College of Arts and Sciences hosted author and award-winning playwright, William Ivor Fowkes, for Literary Spring on Thursday, March 30 in the Ryan Matura Library.
Fowkes is a former philosophy professor and businessman who worked as marketing executive for Time Magazine, HBO, CBS and Showtime. He also wrote books such as “Skyline: Tales of Manhattan,” “Sunshine Quest” and “All in the Faculty.”
According to the program flyer, “his work explores a wide range of topics including human relationships, gay issues and religion.”
“This guest lecture was the perfect way to show that anyone can be a writer or an actor or anything else in life and make it out in the world,” said freshman Ashley Pencynzyn.
Fowkes started as a philosophy student at Yale University and wanted to become a philosophy professor. He discovered that in corporate America, there were fewer jobs for people who studied philosophy, so he became a promotional writer for Time Magazine.
After a time, he stopped being a promotional writer and became the marketing Vice President for Showtime, where he held a career in marketing for 32 years.
However, when his branch at Showtime was shut down, he went back to writing. Fowkes is passionate about writing and sharing the experiences and struggles he’s had over the course of his life.
One of his biggest struggles was when he came out as gay.
Fowkes was married to his wife for 10 years and has two daughters. When he came out, he and his wife divorced.
From there he started a new chapter in his life and wrote his first novel. He wrote three more books, but none of which were ever published.
Fowkes then joined a writing group where he had written a short story. He rewrote it as a play and he continued to write more until he made it into a career.
The Dramatists Guild of America is a professional organization for playwrights, composers and lyricists working in the U.S. theatre market. In his lecture, Fowkes said how there aren’t many playwrights today.
“The Dramatist Guild estimates 10,000 playwrights in this country, which is low,” said Fowkes.
When Fowkes is not writing a play about personal experiences, he writes plays about what is happening in today’s society.
For Literary Spring he read a 10 minute play he wrote about race and moral issues during the time of the 2016 Presidential Election.
Students and faculty who attended the event were moved and entertained by Fowkes’s story.
“I liked the man’s personality a lot because he was very amicable, outgoing, and enjoyable to listen to when he talked,” said junior Hunter Hatlee. “With an event like this, it’s for people that are in the arts. It’s about one who was able to move on and do something with that art form. It will show more validation for what they are doing.”