Author Amanda Ottaway visits SFU for public reading

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Author and journalist Amanda Ottaway gave a public reading on April 5 in DiSepio 201. Daughter of communications professor Brent Ottaway, her memoir, The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey, details her journey playing women’s basketball for Davidson College.

Unlike most sports novels written by or about famous, professional male athletes, Ottaway offers a different perspective from the viewpoint of the majority of college athletes.

“Most athletes don’t go to the Olympics. Most athletes don’t go on to play professionally,” said Ottaway. “These are the majority of college athletes.”

During her public reading, Ottaway discussed several issues and events she had faced playing for the Davidson Wildcats. From social pressures to long-term injuries, rigorous workouts, and balancing athletics and academics, Ottaway displays the reality of the average college athlete.

“I was not extraordinary at all,” said Ottaway. “Sometimes I played, sometimes I didn’t.”

Not only does her memoir focus on the realities of a typical college athlete, Ottaway’s feminist novel also discusses the stigma of women’s basketball and the lack of novels written about women’s sports.

In the process of getting her book published, Ottaway received a rejection letter from a literary agent that said the odds of publishing a book about women’s basketball were stacked against her, further validating how women’s sports are continuously being underrepresented in the publishing world.

Ottaway also highlighted the ways in which the women in her life helped her through her college career. “My teammates were the ones who got me through college,” Ottaway said. She discussed how essential it was for her to be surrounded by women who uplifted and empowered her.

Ottaway has received several praises for The Rebounders. Pulitzer Prize winning author Madeleine Blais gives a compelling review of Ottaway’s novel.

“With its special emphasis on what it means to be a female pursuing athletic excellence, Amanda Ottaway’s story is a welcome addition to the growing list of books addressing this subject,” said Blais. “The Rebounders captures the spirit of collegiate sport with both candor and joy.”

“It was really refreshing to hear Amanda’s story and her journey through college,” said sophomore communications major Kaitlyn Kitchen. “As an aspiring writer, I enjoyed getting to hear about the writing process and how her book came about.”

Ottaway gave a public reading at Barnes & Noble in Altoona on April 14 from 1-4 p.m.

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