Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rita Coburn Whack  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1958

-- Rita Coburn Whack on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Rita was born, raised and educated in Illinois. After graduating from high school Whack attended Illinois State University, where she studied television production. Whack also studied television production and creative writing at Columbia College in Chicago before transferring to Northwestern University, where she completed a B. A. in Communication.

Biographical and Professional Information

After completing her degree, Whack found work as a writer and producer in television and radio. She has been honored with two Television Emmy Awards for two of the documentaries that she has produced for Chicago television stations. She then took to writing and spent twelve years writing her first novel.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Meant to Be: A Novel
ISBN: 0345506464

One World/Ballantine. 2008

In a novel reminiscent of the work of Maya Angelou and Ntozake Shange, Rita Coburn Whack tells the story of how a young woman’s spiritual awakening leads her to maturity and self-fulfillment.

When Meant to Be opens, thirteen-year-old Patience Jan Campbell is called upon to read and interpret her favorite scripture for the church congregation: “I think this scripture means that children know every shut eye ain’t sleep and every head bowed ain’t praying, so grown-ups ain’t fooling us or God. . . . So nobody should hold a child back from God just ’cause they may be having trouble finding Him.”

But a traumatic experience causes Jan to stumble and lose her “voice.” Unable to turn to those around her, she calls for her grandmother Hannah—who died before Jan was born—in prayer. Unbeknownst to Jan, Hannah does come, and through her wise eyes we follow Jan into her early twenties as she moves to the big city, goes to college, and begins a career. A reflective father, a misunderstood mother, a sage aunt, and two pivotal lovers all build emotional bridges that help Jan progress on her journey to womanhood.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)