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A Jesuit College Preparatory Experience

Author Jessie Foley Visits Senior Creative Writing Students

Jessie Foley (nee Morrison), author of The Carnival at Bray (2014) and Neighborhood Girls (2017) and Loyola Academy English teacher from 2005–2012, spoke to seniors in Creative Writing classes on Friday, February 2.
“Pay attention to what is interesting to you and be aware of your surroundings. You don’t have to travel to far away places to get ideas,” Foley encouraged Ramblers. “Find that one kernel of truth and build your story around that”

Foley shared her thirteen rules of writing to help students develop and enhance their writing skills:
  • Let your ideas find you
  • Find your own kernel of truth
  • Once they find you capture them
  • Write everyday
  • Never edit on the first draft
  • Always edit on the second draft
  • Write as many drafts as it takes
  • Read widely and voraciously
  • Write what you know
  • What you wish you could understand
  • Know your grammar
  • Don’t be afraid to fail
Students asked Foley questions about her writing background,  how she came to pursue writing as a career and what advice she has for aspiring authors.

“You don’t always have to write about the things that you know,” she said. “You can also write about things that you are trying to figure out. That’s what writing is for me. Trying to figure things out. Don’t be afraid to fail. Keep trying and trying.”

Foley raffled off two signed copies of her latest novel, Neighborhood Girls. As the presentation came to a close, the author left Ramblers with one final piece of writing guidance: “My advice is to write everyday. Even if it’s a couple of sentences. It makes it easier when you’re going to write, because you have been practicing that part of your brain. Write everyday.”

Foley holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College in Chicago. She is currently working on her third young adult novel that is due to be out in 2019. For more information about Jessie Foley, visit

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To form women and men for meaningful lives of leadership and service in imitation of Jesus Christ through a college preparatory education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.
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