by Kerry Ryan
OSWEGO, N.Y. — On Tuesday, October 10th, the Sheldon Hall Ballroom was filled with members of the oswego community; all waiting to listen to ‘I Am Oz’ speaker and ESPN writer, Kate Fagan. Fagan shared her stories of coming out as a gay woman, working for ESPN, and her inspiration to write the book What Made Maddy Run?. What Made Maddy Run? is the story of University of Pennsylvania freshman track star Madison Holleran, who died by suicide at the age of 19 years old after secretly struggling with anxiety and depression.
Fagan originally wrote Holleran’s story as a piece for ESPN. After receiving numerous emails written by high school and college students, as well as their parents, Fagan said she knew that she needed to dig deeper into the story.
“I realized that we had really only touched on a certain piece of the story in the magazine piece and that there were other roads to travel down to make the story more fleashed out for the rest of the college students and young people who saw themselves in her,” Fagan said.
This isn’t Fagan’s first non-fiction story, however. The Former WNBA player previously released a book retelling the story of her own struggles. The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians explains the background of Fagan’s difficulty with her identity and how it would affect her and those around her.
What Made Maddy Run? was an instant New York Times best-seller. This is a first for Fagan, who said she has always wanted to be a writer.
“Basketball was like the pursuit,” Fagan said. “I guess I’ll be a writer when I’m done. And so when i was done playing basketball, that’s when I moved the writing to the front burner.”
Fagan said her next goal is to get some of her fictional work published. She said that, unlike non-fiction, there’s a different way of storytelling in fiction and it allows writers to have more creative freedom.
What Made Maddy Run? by Kate Fagan is available online and in bookstores now.