What is our new Assistant Professor Amit Yahav reading (besides the 18th century)? What new books are out from faculty, students, and alums? How is English participating in Northrop Auditorium's Grand Reopening? Find out in the new issue of our alumnae/i newsletter, e-Quarterly.
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Nadia B. Hasan (BA 2002; JD 2006) braved her father's disappointment when she chose to major in English; he preferred pre-med or engineering. But her degree prepared her for the reading and analytic rigor of the University of Minnesota Law School and nine years thus far of law practice, first with Johnson & Condon, then Hinshaw & Culbertson, and since last summer in the Minneapolis office of Cozen O'Connor. These days, she notes with amusement, her dad claims he was the one who suggested English. Read more.
How many first-time screen actors get to go to Sundance Film Festival with one of the buzziest films in competition? Naomi Ko (BA 2011) was busy January in Park City, Utah, with press interviews, brunches, luncheons, and parties around the acclaimed feature Dear White People (which was filmed on the U campus). Since graduating, Ko has acted and written for such local theaters as Mixed Blood, Theatre in the Round, Mu Performing Arts, and Bedlam. Last August, Ko heard from a theater producer she'd worked with, Jamil Jude, about movie auditions taking place the next day. Ko went, and she was the only cast member to win a principal role without an agent. The film follows four African American students at an East Coast private college. According to its director, Justin Simien, the film is "about the difference between how the mass culture responds to a person because of their race and who they understand themselves to truly be." Though the Asian American experience has been well-represented in theater, says Ko, there's as yet no Asian American film equivalent to DWP. "I'm working on one," she promises. Read more.
When Shae Moloney (BA) graduated in 2012, she was aiming for a career as an editor and writer, but she hadn't explored where she might find such work. Within three months she had secured a job that included editing and writing. The field was unexpected: human resources. She admits to nervously anticipating beastly labor-management brawls. But these days you can find her waxing cheerfully (and knowledgeably) about Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy, surrounded by snarling and growling beasts of the actual, not figurative sort. Read more.
When Kate Hopper (MFA 2005) reads from her new memoir Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood 7 pm October 23 at Subtext Bookstore, she'll be marking not only the book's publication but the 10-year anniversary of her daughter's premature birth in the fall of 2003. Both her daughter, Stella, and this memoir have thrived under Hopper's decade of care, with important assists from others (not forgetting husband). Hopper was able to work with her agent, Amy Burkhardt, twice--on this book and on her 2012 writing guide Use Your Words--before Burkhardt left that career. "Amy is a writer herself with an MFA in fiction, so she's a really smart reader," Hopper relates. "She helped me see that I had front-loaded back-story, and asked questions like, 'If the book is really about...do you need this?' I'm going to miss her!" Hopper's MFA student cohort and professors encouraged her as the manuscript was just beginning, in the years just after Stella was born. Read on.
"The [English] major provided for a deep analysis of written work for every detail, from words to punctuation," declares English honors alum Sukanya Momsen (BA '13), in an interview featured on the University of Minnesota home web page. "This will be especially helpful to me in law school," she continues. Momsen is entering the University of Minnesota Law School this fall, after completing her BA in two years. Her favorite place on campus? Yup, Lind Hall.
The 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!
How 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 clichéd and campy now," she admits, "but I remember feeling absolutely terrified." What macabre story so disturbed the small Smith? Read on!
In the last decade, his seventh, social entrepreneurship innovator Jerr Boschee (BA English, 1966; MA, Comparative Literature, 1974) served as an adviser to England's Department of Trade and Industry Social Enterprise Unit, published his sixth book, trotted the globe giving master classes and presentations, was named three times to The NonProfit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50" list, and served as founding Chair of Encore! Service Corps International, which sends former Peace Corps Volunteers on short-term assignments in their areas of professional expertise. How did an English major arrive here? Read on . . .
Reina del Cid (BA '10) and the Cidizens are a folk rock band in the Twin Cities whose debut album, blueprints, plans, made radio station the Current's "Top 20 Local Releases of 2012." Reina (yes, her stage name) began her musical career while an English major at the U, posting YouTube videos popular enough to draw the interest of a major record label. As she told the Star Tribune, sticking to her studies felt right then, and now she's bringing literature influences to the music she makes with her bandmates. Or as she puts it, "I bring the words, and they bring the groove." More . . .
More than 20 years ago, he slammed at punk shows and poetry readings. Today, Arthur Schuhart (BA '87) is a dedicated English professor at a community college--which he characterizes as "the great transitional mechanism of American society." In between, he taught seventh graders in the Bronx as one of the first cohort of Teach For America recruits. Schuhart answers our queries about TFA, DCSlam, and his affection for military science fiction.
CLA's alumni magazine reach celebrates English BA alum and feminist writer Kate Millett, with contributions from Professor Emerita Toni McNaron and alums Arvonne Fraser and Jigna Desai. McNaron noted: "Millett's writings urged me to confront the classics, because she understood firsthand how limiting and debilitating it can be to an aspiring female undergraduate to keep studying ideas and works from theoretical positions that ignored characters and experiences like her own." In addition, books by English alums Amanda Coplin, Cheryl Strayed, and David Wojahn are reviewed in reach's "Bound to Please" section.
Our 5 X Friday series of interviews with alumni, faculty, and students continues with MFA alumna Amanda Coplin, whose debut novel The Orchardist hit the bestseller charts. Coplin talks about unconventional plots, violence, and the relationship between people and environments. More . . .
For this week's entry in our 5 X Friday interview series, we check in with David Wojahn (BA '76), who this fall was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Wojahn's 2011 collection World Tree was honored as the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States the previous year. Born and raised in St. Paul, Wojahn confesses he sneaked into John Berryman's classes and helped stop traffic on Washington Avenue. Why? Read on . . .
Marquette University professor Sarah Wadsworth (PhD 2000) takes the mic in this week's installment of 5 X Friday, in which we pose five questions to Department of English alumnae/i, faculty, and students. Wadsworth recently published Right Here I See My Own Books with library scholar Wayne A. Wiegand, about an amazing 8000-volume library of women's writing gathered by women from all over the globe for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. More . . .