Echoes | Teen Ink


September 27, 2008
By Lisa Wang PLATINUM, West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Lisa Wang PLATINUM, West Roxbury, Massachusetts
21 articles 0 photos 0 comments

On August 24, 2008 in the gently sloping town of Ithaca, New York, Eleana Whitfield passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was undergoing treatment for lung cancer which had advanced into the final stages.
Eleana was many different things to many different people. When she was younger she wanted to be a dancer. Although she never took any formal training, she was determined to make dance a part of her life. She was born the only child to Jeremy and Lillian Whitfield in Oklahoma City on January 4, 1950. In her high school years she discovered her passion for writing. After graduating from Columbia University in 1972 with a double major in performing arts and literature, she dived straight into the industry. Eleana was drawn to theater and was hired to collaborate with a small team of writers in order to produce various scripts and screenplays. For twenty years Eleana immersed herself into the world of performance arts. She has been awarded over thirty awards and recognitions for her screenplays and novels. She has won three screenplay awards for her series Real Tragedy is a like a Car Crash as well as international recognition for her novel City Limits which has been translated into forty languages. Recently she was the commencement speaker at Columbia University for the class of 2007.
Eleana never seemed to find enough time to spend with her friends and family, devoting herself entirely to her writing. Her work has redefined fiction with her flowing prose intertwined with emotion and depth and her own story. Best known for Crisscross, a contemporary novel about a dancer who has lost her voice; she has also contributed the stellar smash-hits, People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead a delightful film daring to address the questions “Do things ever really die? Doesn’t a part of them live on in you? Doesn’t a part of them make you who you are?’, Linger a three-act piece exploring the repercussions of the human memory, and The Chess Champion an uplifting and profound screenplay that compares the rules of chess to the rules of life because “…in life, you never know all the rules.”
Eleana will be remembered for the power and truth in her works. She was a valued member of the Screenwriters Guild and will be sorely missed by critics and fans alike. According to Donna Jo Napoli, author of such fiction as Bound and Zel; Eleana’s work is “…the pinnacle of realistic fantasy, a perfect world of dance and the ways it affects the world, [she is] a modern Jane Austen.” Her private memorial service with be held in her hometown in two weeks.

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