Written by Jacob Cavett
Photographed by Lindsay Higgins
Ana Kate Barker’s first word was book. In her toddler years, she always asked her father to read to her. “He loved to tease me because he knew how sad I would get when a story ended. He would shut the book prematurely and yell, ‘The end!’ and I would cry. But as soon as he opened the book again, the tears would stop.” Now a senior Communication major with minors in writing and history, she is assigned more than enough reading to keep her satisfied.
Ana Kate has not yet written a book, but she has written short fiction, poetry, and her favorite, creative nonfiction. Her inspiration comes mostly from music and nature. “They’re the only two things that make me cry.” She plays the piano and prefers instrumental music, such as “Clair de Lune” and “Musetta’s Waltz,” for her writing sessions.
Ana Kate would like to one day become a history professor, not only because she would love to invest in the next generation of young minds, but also to research and publish her findings. Last fall she took History Senior Seminar, one of the hardest classes in the program, as an opportunity to write an academic paper necessary for admission into graduate history programs. Even after she graduates, she plans to continue her project about the Black Death’s role in the separation of modern medical science and religion. She also hopes to draw from such research for historical fiction in the future.
Another goal of Ana Kate’s is to incorporate her faith into her writing. Her inspiration comes largely from C.S. Lewis, although she clarifies she does not want to copy him. “I feel that if I’m writing strictly for pleasure or personal success, my writing has no lasting value,” she says, citing Ecclesiastes 1:14. Ana Kate would love to write literature that both succeeds critically and presents her faith in a way that readers might not otherwise understand, but she is still finding out what that looks like. “Even striving to obtain knowledge is vanity if it’s not for a purpose greater than myself.”