March 2013 Archives

Regents Professor Hampl Receives Stark Award

Regents Professor Patricia HamplRegents Professor of English Patricia Hampl will be honored with the Dr. Matthew Stark Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Faculty Award April 17 at the College of Liberal Arts' Celebrate Faculty Excellence ceremony and reception, 3:30 pm in the Coffman Union Great Hall. The award recognizes Professor Hampl's distinguished writing, teaching, and service in this area, including her work with the Human Rights Program establishing the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship, which supports an MFA creative writing student working with the Human Rights Program as a writer-in-residence. The Stark awards are based on a generous donation from Dr. Matthew "Matt" Stark, a former professor at the University of Minnesota and former executive director of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union. Professor Hampl is the second English professor to be so honored since the Stark awards begin in 2009. Congratulations!

Schrag Defense

Doctoral candidate Adam Schrag will defend his dissertation, "Surface to Surface: War, Image, and the Senses in the Screenic Era," as directed by Dr. Paula Rabinowitz, on Friday, March 29, in the Wright Room (Lind 202). All are welcome for the public portion of the defense from 1-2 pm.

5 X Friday: Professor Charles Baxter

Charles BaxterCharles Baxter is one of the most well-known--and admired--short story writers alive. Last year, he won the Rea Award for the Short Story, a prestigious prize judged by his peers. What you might not know is that for 20 plus years, he's been organizing and hosting literary readings to raise money for hunger relief in the U.S. His fifth annual Hunger Relief Benefit at the University of Minnesota takes place 7 pm, Tuesday, April 2, at McNamara Alumni Center. As becomes clear below, Baxter is not the type of writer who spends all his time focused on his fiction, although his healthy output of well-loved novels (such as Saul and Patsy) and collections (Gryphon was named a Notable Books of 2011 by The New York Times) might argue otherwise. The guy likes a challenge. This past fall he published his first memoir piece in an issue of Ploughshares edited by Regents Professor Patricia Hampl. "After being in a rollover accident and surviving it," he notes dryly, "I was ready to write about the experience." We feel lucky to (still) have Baxter here as the Edelstein-Keller Professor in Creative Writing. More . . .

Prospective Student Visit

The Department of English welcomes prospective graduate students March 14-15. Events scheduled include a reading by MFA alum authors, a discussion with a PhD alum, a subfield meeting, class visits, and dinner with graduate students and faculty. We look forward to meeting you!

5 X Friday: MFA Alum Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Elizabeth Foy LarsenOur annual First Books Reading takes place March 14, and we're delighted to host three first-time authors: Discover Award fiction-winner (and past 5 X Friday subject) Amanda Coplin, poet Shana Youngdahl, and the Twin Cities' own freelance writer and editor Elizabeth Foy Larsen. Larsen has been inspiring reviewers from New York to WIRED with last fall's Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun (Bloomsbury), written with Joshua Glenn. Chock full of quirky activities, intriguing book lists, and savvy advice for kids, the book was vetted by Larsen's own children. What did they like that didn't make it in? Read on. . . .

Two English Alums Win 2012 Discover Awards

Cheryl Strayed's Wild Amanda Coplin's The OrchardistThe two winners of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Discover Awards are both Department of English alumnae. Cheryl Strayed (BA 1997) won for her memoir Wild (Knopf), and Amanda Coplin (MFA 2006) won for her debut novel The Orchardist (Harper). The awards, worth $10,000, were announced at a New York ceremony March 6. Strayed, who also majored in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, has been honored as a CLA Alumna of Notable Achievement. Coplin, a Gesell Award for Excellence in Fiction recipient while a student here, returns 7 pm Thursday, March 14, as part of the Creative Writing Program's First Books Reading at the Weisman Museum. Founded in 1990, Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program promotes books of exceptional literary quality from authors at the start of their careers. Congratulations!

5 X Friday: PhD Alum Angela Smith

Angela SmithHow did Angela Smith (PhD '02)--author of the new book Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenics, and Classic Horror Cinema--get hooked on horror movies? It might have been an episode of Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense that she saw as a child. As befits a scholar (she's Associate Professor of English & Gender at the University of Utah), Smith has gone back to the episode ("Child's Play") as an adult. "The show seems very clich├ęd and campy now," she admits, "but I remember feeling absolutely terrified." What macabre story so disturbed the small Smith? Read on!

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