Degree: Ph.D. in English
Career: Writer, teacher
There was a time when Theo Greenblatt didn’t have much confidence in her writing. “I thought great writers were born not made, so why bother?”
Greenblatt had a variety of jobs before returning to college as an adult—but it wasn’t until she enrolled at URI for her master’s degree in English that her talent for fiction writing emerged. “I realized I could write fiction,” she says, “that it was more about craft than genius, and that I had that in me.”
Yes, she does. And this month, Greenblatt will be in London at the House of Commons, where she will be recognized for her story “Solitaire,” chosen as the first-place winner of “The London Magazine” short story contest.
The prize, which includes a financial award and the publication of “Solitaire” in the magazine, was unexpected. “Solitaire” was rejected 22 times before being selected by “The London Magazine,” England’s oldest literary periodical and publisher of some of the best writing in the county. It is often referred to as “The New Yorker” of England.
“I was just stunned. I stared at the email for a few minutes wondering, ‘Is this real?’ It’s a big deal and, really, a shocker,” says Greenblatt, an English instructor at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, who is well aware of the persistence that all writers must possess.
Greenblatt has had upwards of 20 stories and short memoirs published since 2011. Her most recent success is no surprise to her mentor and professor, Mary Cappello, who says Greenblatt is a rising star in the literary world and has “steadily, determinedly, and doggedly stayed the course” to see her work published in highly-respected journals such as “The Harvard Review.” Greenblatt’s memoir, which she wrote for her URI dissertation, has yet to find a home, but Cappello is confident this “grand slam” award will bring attention to her work and “open that next door.”