Lake E-ffect Newsletter banner SUNY Oswego logoOctober 2011 • Vol 7 • No 7

Living Writers Series Student Becomes the Teacher

Jon Chopan '03 celebrated the publishing of his first book with his return to a course the Ohio State University professor took as an Oswego student.

Jon Chopan '03Chopan, who also received the Creative Writing Alumni Award, spoke to aspiring writers in Living Writers Series Sept. 7 about his soon-to-be-published book, Pulled from the River.

An autobiographical novel, Pulled from the River shows what it was like for Chopan to grow up in Rochester with a group of men who virtually communicated through any means but conversation.

Chopan got his start as a writer when he was a student, after being persuaded to attend Oswego by his best friend.

He had many professors who helped to guide him in the right direction. Close to his own age, Professor Ira Sukrungruang was young, charismatic and outgoing, Chopan said.

"Ira saved me from not being a writer," he said.

Professors Leigh Wilson and Frank Byrne also helped to guide Chopan.

"They taught me how to be a student," he said. "They held me accountable and taught me that in order to become educated one had to do some work."

While attending Oswego, Chopan took the Living Writers Series course and wrote fiction and plays. Chopan had no intention of writing before being introduced to these professors and their classes.

Chopan urged students to trust in their story, but that they must do one thing first.

"Leave," Chopan said. "Get out of here. Go somewhere; get away. Figure out what you left behind. Figure out what you're supposed to write."

Chopan currently teaches freshmen composition and creative writing classes at The Ohio State University, where he also earned his master's degree. Pulled from the River is due out in December.

Erin Marulli '13

Jon Chopan '03,
right, chats with Alex Longo '12 following an appearance in the Living Writers Series. 

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