Nancy Leinbach '11

Nancy LeinbachCity/State of Residence: Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Creative Nonfiction

Brief Bio: In my seventies I started on the Ashland MFA degree. A masters in education and Ph.D in counseling psychology and child development preceded this endeavor. The latter were for professional reasons and the MFA for fun. It has given me an entirely different outlook on the future. Write. Read. Share my words with others.

I began life in Ohio, left when I was 21, and returned for the Ashland program over 50 years later. It was a coming home to a familiar place, attitude, and the delight of mild summer weather after years in Louisiana and North Carolina.

Other major influences in my life include 20 months in Japan from 1959-1961. The aesthetic of this culture and the influence of their Buddhist practices are with me even yet. Being in a long-term marriage and connected with a family of two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandsons are treasured riches.

Having settled, after many residences around the country and abroad, in a retirement community in Chapel Hill, NC I am living a life of greater freedom. Here at Carol Woods a new beginning has started. This experience inspires my writing and doors of interest continue to open around my work.

What initially drew you to Ashland's MFA Program? That it offered only two genres--both of which interested me. That it was new and fresh. That the spirit seemed accepting and eager to integrate faculty and students. That bottom line was collaborative work. Everyone was/is important.

What did you appreciate most? Sarah Wells, for starters. She is direct and clear and gets things done. Beyond that the instructors and invited guests who offered a range of perspectives and possibilities--always accessible.

How do you feel this program impacted you? Gave me a place to start in getting down “to it.” The “it” being serious about writing. For me, the program was an organized way to begin taking myself seriously and finally calling myself a writer--with no apologies.

What do you feel was the greatest takeaway? My self-confidence as a writer.

What was the subject or theme of your thesis? A memoir of my development as an individual within the context of a marriage.

Finally, what are you up to now? Current occupation, or otherwise: Presently, I am working on a one-person play based on a manuscript derived from the papers of a man who had amazing adventures following his muse. I envision this work as a multimedia production offering glimpses into events of his life span (1889-1971) and his passion for music, drama, and for sharing a message with those whose lives he touched.

Also, I participate in a twice-monthly writing group and submit small pieces (125-250 words) to a newsletter distributed by Carol Woods (where I live) to the wider community. 

In the fall of 2013 I will be traveling to East Africa to meet several people of interest there and to observe elephants in the wild. I will be keeping a journal and who knows what writing will emerge from this brief nomadic experience.

Feel free to contact Nancy if you have any additional questions about her experience in the program:

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