Steve Dunham’s Trains of Thought

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The Pubs Playwright

By Steve Dunham

ANSER Transmissions, November-December 1999, copyright 1999 Analytic Services. Used by permission.

A play written by Julie Wright, an editor in Publications, was produced at Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, for two weekends in October and November. The drama about Margaret Clitherow, a 16th-century English martyr, is called For the Love of My Lord Jesus. Julie’s brother Michael Wright, who attends Christendom College, directed the play, which featured an original score performed by a small orchestra. The students and faculty of the Christendom Players did a creditable job, especially for a college with enrollment of less than 200 and no formal drama or music program.

Now Julie is revising the play; she hopes to get it published, and other people have expressed interest in additional productions. Julie also would like to write a screenplay of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Villette.

Julie is working toward a master’s degree in British history, specializing in the Elizabethan era, and is taking classes at George Mason University, Catholic University, and Notre Dame Graduate School. Right now she is working to meet prerequisites, but she hopes to matriculate in a graduate program next year.

“The main thing historians do is write,” notes Julie. “The main reason I’m going into history is I want to write things more in depth.” She would like to research and write about the communities of Catholics who left England for the Netherlands during the Tudor era.

Julie used to live in the Netherlands, where she worked for a Bible mission, writing and editing their newsletter. She hopes that knowing how to speak Dutch will come in handy for her research. She also ran the Encouragers Club; its members wrote to people in the Soviet Union who were imprisoned for their religious practices. At another time, she was employed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis.

“I always wanted to write—all my life,” says Julie. She comes from a creative family. Her eight brothers and sisters include a photographer, a music producer, and a novelist. “We’re all artists of some sort,” she says. Julie started college as a dance major, but she was unhappy with the dance program at the University of Minnesota. She switched to parks, recreation, and leisure studies and planned to use her degree to provide recreation for disabled people. After many hours of volunteer work, she decided she didn’t want to make a career out of it. She still wanted to be a writer. “I realized that the gifts you have, those are the things you should use.”

Julie came to ANSER in 1997 as a temp, and was hired in December of that year. Since then she has worked part time, devoting her other hours to studying and writing. Besides her play, Julie has written freelance magazine articles and newspaper stories, and she edits the local newsletter for the People of Praise (a religious community to which she belongs). She lives in Annandale with a family who are part of that community.

At ANSER Julie does much of the editing for Transmissions, and virtually all of the layout for the online version. She also writes some of the features and news items, and edits countless documents. Projects this year have included the Theater Air and Missile Defense 1999 Master Plan and several reports produced by the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. “I think we have a great editing team,” says Julie.