Walker, Jeanne Murray (1944-) | Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections
Born in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota in 1944, Jeanne Murray Walker, with childhood aspirations to become a professional violin player, is a poet and playwright having written several volumes of poetry, including A Deed to the Light (2004). Dr. Walker received her undergraduate education at Wheaton College and completed her graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
At 19, while a sophomore at Wheaton College, she entered a poem and a short story in The Atlantic Monthly Competition for young writers. She became the first writer to win first prize in both categories. She is a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, and Image. She gives readings, runs workshops, and speaks across the United States and abroad. Her poems appear in print anthologies, as well as on the radio, the web, and in busses and trains under the auspices of the Poetry in Motion project.
The author of many essays, she has also written extensively for the theatre. In 1990, she wrote her first play, which won the Washington National Theater Competition. Her scripts include Inventing Montana, Tales From The Daily Tabloid, Rowing Into Light on Lake Adley, and The Queen’s 2 Bodies: The Double Life of Elizabeth I. They have been produced in Boston, Washington, Chicago, throughout the Midwest, and in London. Published by Dramatic Publishing, her scripts also appear in North American Women’s Drama, a scholarly on-line reference work published by Alexander Street Press. Her work has been honored with prizes and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, seven Pennsylvania State Arts Council Fellowships, the Prairie-Schooner Reader’s Choice and Strousse Awards, many new play prizes, and the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She serves on the Editorial Board of Shenandoah.
Married to Dan Larkin and the mother of two adult children, Professor Walker lives in Philadelphia and teaches poetry and script writing workshops, as well as courses in poetry, theatre, and the English Renaissance, at The University of Delaware, where she has been for over thirty years. She helped to design study abroad courses in London, which she has taught for two decades, and she administers The University of Delaware Script Writing Competition.