Author Tara Westover Visits Choate
On October 29, 2019, author Tara Westover visited Choate Rosemary Hall as the Summer Reading Series speaker. Her compelling memoir, Educated, was a finalist for several national awards, winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Autobiography, and named one of New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2018. In Educated, Westover shares her transformation of being raised without a formal education to graduating magna cum laude at her alma mater, Brigham Young University, and earning a Ph.D. in history at Cambridge University. Westover made the Time 100 list as one of the most influential people of 2019.
Born into a survivalist family in Idaho, Westover never went to school due to her father's opposition to academic learning. Instead, she was taught to read by her older sibling. This modest exposure to education ignited the motivation to educate herself. At age 17 she entered her first classroom and learned about significant historical events, like the Holocaust, for the first time.
Introduced by Caroline Rispoli '20, Westover joined the Choate community at School Meeting where she was interviewed by English faculty member Brooke Fichera. Ms. Fichera relayed student questions for Westover on her journey through the memoir writing process, her thoughts on education, and her advice to sixth formers headed to college next year.
Westover offered some instruction on the arc of storytelling, such as crafting descriptions by highlighting details in seemingly generic moments. She also emphasized how education is about discovery, ultimately meant to change the way you live your life. Westover reminded her audience, "The world you have experienced is not the only world available."
Following School Meeting, students, staff, and faculty members met Westover during a book signing before joining the Advanced Creative Writing class and fielding additional questions from students.