Wesley Britton’s Books, Interviews,
and Media Appearances ~
“Alumni Spotlight –
The Spy Who Loved Cal U”
By Beth Baxter
When Wesley Britton was a student at Cal U in the 1970s, he knew
that he was losing his eyesight to a debilitating disease. He also knew
that he wasn’t going to let that stop him from doing what he
An English major, he fondly recalls studying history, anthropology
and archaeology. He claims ’looking for Indian sites was a great
way to earn college credits during the summer semesters.”
While still an undergrad, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a
genetic disease that eventually results in blindness. He continued
working on his degree, graduating in 1977 with a B.A. in English.
He moved to Texas and tried his hand at a variety of occupations
from advertising, to VISTA, to working on issues related to people with
disabilities. Eventually he realized that he wanted to return to school.
From 1983 to 1990, he attended the University of North Texas where
he earned both an M.A. and Ph.D. in American literature, becoming
“something of an expert in Mark Twain studies,” as he
puts it. His goal was to become a full-time professor in his field.
“Before graduate school,” Wes said, “my
problems revolved around my growing blindness. After graduation, my
walls came from a profession that was very different than what I’d
experienced up to that time. i joined the ranks of adjunct or part-time
faculty, eventually teaching at a number of colleges in Texas and
Oklahoma. I built my income writing a ton of encyclopedia articles
and book reviews,” he explained. In 1988 Wes returned to
his native Pennsylvania and began teaching part-time at Harrisburg
Area Community College. “I wanted to feel the seasons again.
What I didn’t expect was to meet my future wife after only
three weeks in the area,” Wes said.
In fact, Wes had known Betty Meyer in his childhood. “Betty
remembers me from the fourth grade. We graduated from the same
class at Cumberland Valley High School.”
Wes and Betty share their Linglestown Road house with Annie,
the dog, and Mr. Man, the cat. One of his favorite features of their
home is a large back yard. “It”s more park than yard,
large enough for me to spend a lot of time building compost, planting
and weeding, that sort of stuff,” he said.
He still teaches English at HACC where he is president of their
Adjunct Faculty Organization. He’s also vice president of the
board of directors of the Tri-County Association for the Blind in
In January, Praeger Press published his first major book, Spy
Television. “Spy Television resulted from
my desire to move beyond cranking out all the short stuff I’ve
been doing, to write something that would be fun to do, and something
I felt there was a need for,” said the new author. Wes is now
writing a sci-fi series about a blind human pulled into another dimension,
onto an alternate Earth. “I’ve written the first four
novels, and three of them seem complete to me,” he said. But
he’s not done with spies just yet. “I’m collecting
notes on a sequel which will explore espionage in movies and
literature over the last century. No one’s written that book
yet.” And we know that Wes loves a challenge.
From the CalU Review – The
California University of Pennsylvania Magazine, Fall 2004,
The web version of this article is reprinted with the kind
permission of California University.