An Author Teaches Himself How to Read and Write

Aug 6, 2015

Travis Hugh Culley is an author and a playwright. He holds an MFA in writing from the Art Institute of Chicago, which is remarkable, since Culley was illiterate until about age 17. 

Mildly dyslexic and labeled a discipline problem, Culley slipped through the cracks of his Miami school. His frustrated parents struggled to understand him. He was bullied by his older brother and beaten by his father. Culley’s problems escalated after he was sexually molested by a pastor at summer camp. He would ultimately be saved by a few teachers, the theater, writing, and his desire to understand his own situation.

A little later we revisit a conversation with Julia Scott. She edited a book about bad writing by accomplished authors.

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  • Travis Hugh Culley – author of A Comedy & A Tragedy: A Memoir of Learning How to Read and Write
  • Julia Scott – author of Drivel: Deliciously Bad Writing by Your Favorite Authors 


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “Another Brick in the Wall,” Pink Floyd
  • “In the Waiting Line,” Zero 7

Jonathan McNicol and Faith Middleton contributed to this show.