Award-winning author Whitney Terrell to read at PSU 

Award-winning author Whitney Terrell will be featured as the next in the Distinguished Visiting Writer Series with a reading planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in Grubbs Hall Room 107. 

The event is free and is sponsored by the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series and the Student Fee Council. 

Terrell's novel, The Good Lieutenant, was selected as a Best Book of 2016 by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Refinery 29. It was long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.  

The story focuses on a female soldier, Lt. Emma Fowler, and relies on the expertise of many women who served in Iraq, including former Sgt. Angela Fitle, a former logistics specialist who frequently participated in cordon and search missions, and Major Stacy Moore, a 14-year Army veteran who led convoys as a lieutenant in Iraq and is now the second in command to the commanding general for the First Infantry Division at Ft. Riley. 

The plot: On the outskirts of Baghdad, Fowler’s platoon unwittingly rolls into a buried maze of IEDs—and their Humvee is blasted into a shrapnel-torn wreck. From this catastrophic moment, The Good Lieutenant unspools backward in time as Fowler and her platoon are guided into disaster by suspicious informants and questionable intelligence, their mission the result of a previous snafu in which a soldier was kidnapped by insurgents. The novel unfolds from points of view that are not customarily included in war coverage—a tenacious female officer, jaded career soldiers, and Iraqis both innocent and not so innocent. 

“Brilliantly told by an acclaimed writer at the top of his form, Whitney Terrell's The Good Lieutenant is a gripping, insightful, and necessary novel about a war that is proving to be the defining tragedy of our time,” writes Macmillan Publishers. 

In 2006 and 2010, Terrell embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He covered the war for The Washington Post Magazine, Slate and NPR. 

“I wish I could film conversations with all of the servicewomen and men who helped me as I wrote this book. Their stories are unique, powerful, and human,” Terrell wrote in a recent blog about the book. “Their names are listed in the book and each one is a reminder that, more than anything I’ve ever written, this story was a group effort. The discussions I had with Angela, Stacy, and other soldiers after they’d read the final draft of The Good Lieutenant were for me the apex of the long eight-year arc that led to its completion. I feel like we’ve created something together.” 

Terrell, now an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is also the author of The Huntsman, a New York Times Notable Book in 2001, and The King of Kings County, which was selected as a best book of 2005 by the Christian Science Monitor.  

He has also taught fiction at Princeton University and was the Hodder Fellow for 2008-2009. He is a native of Kansas City, where he lives with his wife and two sons.