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English faculty member publishes new book

Lita Kurth shares her insights to becoming a writer
Lita+Kurth%2C+author+and+English+professor+at+De+Anza%2C+smiles+next+to+her+cat%2C+Mimi%2C+while+she+writes+in+her+journal+in+her+home+on+Feb.+26.
Sabrina Kulieva
Lita Kurth, author and English professor at De Anza, smiles next to her cat, Mimi, while she writes in her journal in her home on Feb. 26.

A semi-retired English faculty member at De Anza college and co-founder of Flash Fiction Forum has published a new book.

Lita Kurth first worked in the reading department at De Anza around 1996. After a break related to the birth of a daughter, Kurth taught a lot of the beginning level composition courses starting with 2006. After getting her master of fine arts from Pacific Lutheran University, she began teaching creative writing.

“I felt a real calling to be at De Anza. I loved the students and felt at home, that I was making a difference,” Kurth said.

Coming from a poor family didn’t stop her from becoming a writer and following her dreams.

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“I grew up in a family with very little education, but we did read a lot, partly because we didn’t have a TV,” Kurth said. “I liked reading at school and there were good public schools and universities that I could attend at the time: University of Wisconsin, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State and Pacific Lutheran University. I received degrees from all of them.”

She also shared what kind of challenges she faced during her career.

“I couldn’t dare to become a writer. I thought that it was too good for me,” Kurth said. “When I first started to write poetry I was afraid to call myself a poet. It took me time to get used to the ‘writer’s title’, but now I definitely feel more comfortable with it.”

Kurth once went to a conference of writers where one of the top poets at that time said that 60% of his works were rejected. It’s something that surprised her. Over time, she learned that having a rejection rate over 96% is typical.

Gradually, Kurth stopped taking rejections personally and got more publications accepted.

Her biggest victory in the writing field, so far, is publishing her new book for writers and teachers: “One Creative Writing Prompt a Day.” It has 365 creative writing prompts for those who want to challenge themselves or those who suffer from writer’s block.

Another achievement is her “Flash Fiction Forum,” an event that happens five times per year, where about a dozen writers present their short fiction stories. During the pandemic they expanded to Zoom. This forum was organized by Kurth and one of her friends.

“We’ve been international: we had writers from Egypt, New Zealand, Scotland … It’s been really great,” Kurth said.

The main purpose of this forum is having a writing community.

“(A writer) can’t be a person just sitting by themself, sending things out, at least for me, that’s not a sustainable writing life,” Kurth said.

She also shared some tips that students can use to improve their writing skills:
Join a writing club, for example “Creative Writing” Club at De Anza.
Take creative writing classes at college.
Be curious about newly written books, or internet short stories from literary journals.
Be confident and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Lita Kurth’s new book can be found in these stores:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Simon and Schuster
Thrift Books
Walmart

Kurth’s event, “Flash Fiction Forum” can be found here.

Watch the interview above to learn more.

Lita Kurth’s new book posed on a table next to her personal coasters in her home on Feb. 26. (Sabrina Kulieva)

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About the Contributors
Sabrina Kulieva
Sabrina Kulieva, Staff Reporter
Hi, my name is Sabrina. La Voz is a new chapter of my life; I hope it will help me stay more informed about events in the world and maybe even find my place in it.
Nello Puelles
Nello Puelles, Multimedia Editor
Nello would love to direct a news show or podcast and help his community.

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