Faculty and Staff Feature: Trisha Cowen

A childhood love of storytelling and writing took Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Trisha Cowen to Beijing, China for the Olympics in 2008.

When Cowen was a young child, her urge to write manifested into arts and crafts. Cowen said she created makeshift books out of cereal boxes.

“As a kid I would put together, just create, these fantastical tales and draw all of the narratives, full with pictures,” Cowen said. “Then, [I would] cut out cereal boxes and would put all of the books together and pretend I was a librarian.”

Cowen said her childhood appeal to storytelling came from a yearning for the new and unfamiliar.

“The love of reading stories turned into a love of telling stories,” Cowen said. “I love traveling and learning about different people and cultures and places. So I think a lot of my love for storytelling comes from my curious nature to learn about different things.”

In 2008, Cowen said she was a sports journalist for the Beijing Olympics where she worked in what was called the “mix zone.” The mix zone was where the athlete and journalist mingled together after each sporting event. Cowen said her job was to write down a quote and run it to a room where journalists from around the globe gathered. She described these journalists watching Olympic events from large television screens posted around the room and writing stories in real time.

“What I loved most about it was being able to meet so many people from so many different places all in, essentially, one room,” Cowen said.

Within her role as a sports journalist during the Olympics, Cowen said she enjoyed working while enmeshed in a foreign culture.

“I really enjoyed getting to know a pretty sizable group of young Chinese journalists who were in the same role as I was and getting to learn about their lives,” Cowen said. “I loved learning about them and also about the Chinese culture.”

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