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Alum Shares Love of Writing with AP English Class
On April 6, 2015
As a lawyer at one of the most notable firms in the state, Jack Partridge ’57 knows a thing or two about storytelling. “If you’re a lawyer, you have to be a natural storyteller. That’s not to say a liar,” he laughed, “but creating a narrative, getting a plot.” The founding partner of Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP is also the author of three mystery novels, and he came to Saint Raphael Academy last week and shared tips about the writing life with Betsy Rouleau’s AP Literature and Composition class.
Drawing from his experience as a lawyer, Mr. Partridge created the main character of Algy Temple, a university counsel who also solves mysteries. The mystery series is set in Providence and weaves in mob stories familiar to many Rhode Island residents. His latest book in the series, Scratched, was just published last fall.
Wearing a purple-checked shirt to show his Saints pride, Mr. Partridge shared advice with the class about how to begin writing their first novel. “Don’t write with an iPad. Get a good old-fashioned piece of paper and a pen or pencil. The first noun or verb that comes to your mind, put it down on paper. Now you are committed. Then your imagination begins to flow. Believe me, then you will have something. It sounds simplistic, but it works.”
After graduating from Saint Raphael Academy, Mr. Partridge went on to complete an undergraduate degree at Providence College, then law school at Harvard. He spent a short time in the Army, serving in Vietnam. Upon his return home, he worked at the same law firm for 22 years before opening his own firm.
About 10 years ago, Mr. Partridge began his writing career when he decided to write a novel as a Christmas present for his three children, who all majored in English. While they were not as impressed with the gift as he anticipated, the novel was passed to a friend who read it and helped him develop it further. The novel eventually became the first in his Algy Temple series, Carom Shot.
The author still has strong ties in Pawtucket, consulting and volunteering on various nonprofit boards, and has fond memories of growing up here and attending Saint Raphael Academy.
“I love Saint Ray’s. I had remarkable teachers. They really challenged me and got me to read more,” he said. Wanting to encourage the same of current students, Mr. Partridge donated copies of his books to the school library.
“These are all great kids here,” he said. He hoped that by coming back to speak with current students, he could inspire them to write. “It’s not hard to start [writing]. Just go at it. Come up with something interesting to write about and begin.”