May 2012 Archives

New Creative Writing Program Newsletter

Image of MFA candidate readingCheck out the Spring 2012 Alumni Newsletter from the Creative Writing Program for news and features about alumni, current students, and faculty. The issue features interviews with Director Julie Schumacher, about her new book for young adults, The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls, and with Professor Charles Baxter, recent winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story. Finally, congratulations to this spring's graduates of the MFA program, who defended their creative theses earlier this month (photo left): Elizabeth Abbot, Lucas de Lima, Sarah Fox, Alex Grant, Amir Hussain, Chris Keimig, David Malley, Wahida Omar, Claire Stanford, Molly Sutton Kiefer, and Andrea Uptmor.

PhD and MFA Placement

Congratulations to our doctoral and Creative Writing Program graduates, who have secured tenure track positions this year at the following institutions: University of Arkansas, Fort Smith; Fresno Pacific University; Georgia Perimeter College; LaGuardia Community College in New York; St. Francis University; Seattle University; University of St. Thomas; Washington University, St. Louis; and University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

Baxter Receives Rea Award, "Best Novelist" Recognition

Image of Charles BaxterEdelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing Charles Baxter has won the 2011 Rea Award for the Short Story, given annually to a living American or Canadian writer whose published work has made a "significant contribution in the discipline of the short story as an art form." The Rea Award honors writers "for originality and influence on the genre," rather than any one collection or story. Baxter receives $30,000 and joins a list of acclaimed honorees including Alice Munro, Donald Barthelme, Grace Paley, and John Updike. The jurors this year were Lorrie Moore, Stuart Dybeck, and Bill Henderson. Baxter's latest book, the 2011 Gryphon: New & Selected Stories, was noted in the jurors' citation, which reads in part: "Charles Baxter is a writer of elegant sentences, an expert in the mechanics of dramatic narration, and a master of psychological exile, which is the unexotic but special terrain of the short story." Meanwhile, the Star Tribune named him "Best Novelist" in its May 16 Best of Minnesota section. (The Star Tribune also named MA alumna Erin Hart Best Mystery Writer and BA/MA/PhD alumna Joyce Sutphen runner-up to Robert Bly for Best Poet.) Congratulations!

PhD Alumna Recognized

Image of Marilyn NelsonPoet Marilyn Nelson (PhD 1979) in April received the Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America's highest award. The Medal is presented annually for "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry." Previous winners of this award include Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Moore, and Charles Simic, who was the 2011 recipient. Nelson reads in Minneapolis 7:30 pm May 21 at Plymouth Congregational Church.

New Faculty Books

Sheil She Hath Been Reading cover imageStart your summer reading now! Associate Professor Katherine Scheil this spring published She Hath Been Reading: Women and Shakespeare Clubs in America (Cornell University Press, 2012), a fascinating look at how book clubs provided encouragement for female literary education during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--and a path into public life. This is Professor Scheil's third book. In May, Professor Julie Schumacher publishes her fifth book for younger readers, The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls (Delacorte, 2012). She won a 2007 Minnesota Book Award for her novel The Book of One Hundred Truths.

Students Receive Research Support

Two PhD candidates were awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships for 2012-13: Sunyoung Ahn (adviser: Tim Brennan) and Will Kanyusik (adviser: Siobhan Craig). In addition, six PhD and MFA candidates received financial support this summer through the Graduate Research Partnership Program: Sunyoung Ahn (advised by Tim Brennan), Sally Franson (Charles Baxter), Andrew Marzoni (Siobhan Craig), Caitlin McHugh (Katherine Scheil), Trenton Olson (Andy Elfenbein), and Kerry Voigt (Ray Gonzalez). In addition, the MFA program awarded CLA research/travel fellowships to Aaron Apps, Christine Friedlander, and Flor Lauria, while the PhD program awarded short-term research grants to Wes Burdine, Andrew Marzoni, and Davu Seru. Congratulations to all!

Alumni and Faculty Celebrate Mother's Day

Cover image of Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable GirlsGarrison Keillor (BA '66), wearing his bookstore owner hat, is presenting "Honor Thy Mother," a free reading 3 pm, Sunday, May 13, with Regents Professor Patricia Hampl, Professor Julie Schumacher, MFA alumna Shannon Olson, and Keillor himself. The event, sponsored by Keillor's emporium, Common Good Books, takes place at Macalester College's Weyerhaeuser Chapel (St. Paul). Professor Hampl and Keillor were editors together at the University of Minnesota undergraduate literary magazine Ivory Tower. Keillor and Olson, the author of Welcome to My Planet: Where English Is Sometimes Spoken, once taught a class together on comedy writing at the U.

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Norman Fruman

Norman FrumanProfessor Emeritus Norman Fruman, a member of the English faculty from 1978 to 1994, died April 19, at the age of 88 in Laguna Beach, California. Fruman was, as he told his friends, "famous and infamous" as the author of Coleridge, The Damaged Archangel (Braziller, 1971), which revealed that the English poet was a serial plagiarist. Fruman's book, described at the time as "relentlessly and devastatingly polemical and one of the most exciting I have read in years," by the New York Times critic, has been the focus of obituaries in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Star Tribune, and the Laguna Beach Patch. Fruman was also a combat platoon leader at the Battle of the Bulge and was afterward a German prisoner of war. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Doris, three children, and four grandchildren.

Professional Skills Workshop

This semester Graduate Studies in the Department of English is pleased to present a new series of workshops on various professional skills, the last of which takes place Friday May 4 at noon in Lind Hall 207A. This "Applying for Fellowships" session covers such topics as where to find fellowships, how to write a fellowship application, etc. Mandatory for English graduate students planning to apply for fellowships in the 2012-13 academic year.

Majors Graduating with CESP Recognition

Three English undergraduates are graduating this spring with Community Engagement Scholars Program recognition: Kari Eloranta, Abdiasis Hirsi, and Anna Kraemer. This honor recognizes that the students have performed 400 hours of community engagement addressing social issues and community needs throughout their undergraduate careers at the University of Minnesota. They also have completed reflections on those volunteer experiences, as well as a seminar and final project. The students receive recognition on their official transcripts and at commencement. The Department of English honored these students at our annual Campus Community Colloquium on April 30. Eloranta in addition received a University of Minnesota Alumni Association Student Leadership Award later that evening at the President's Student Leadership and Service Awards Banquet. Congratulations!

Defenses this Week

Two PhD candidates will defend their dissertations this week. Elissa Hansen will present the public portion of her defense Wednesday, May 2, at 9:30 am in Heller Hall 1229. Molly Gage will present the public portion of her defense Friday, May 4, at 10:30 am in Lind Hall 202.


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