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!
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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 . . .
Our series of 5 X Friday interviews with alums, faculty, and students this week features Mark Baumgarten (BA 2001). Baumgarten works as editor-at-large for City Arts, a monthly magazine and online publication that covers arts and culture in Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding Puget Sound area. He just published his first book, a nonfiction account of influential independent music label K Records, this past summer. More . . .
Our series of interviews with department faculty, students and alums continues with Andrew Nath (BA 1991), Executive Vice President at the Premier Bank in Maplewood, an 850 million dollar bank. The best part of his job? "Interacting with people to determine the issues that need resolution and working within a creative environment to solve those issues." Nath has high school-age children looking at colleges, and he says he's advocating for the U. More . . .
Here's our second installment of 5 X Friday: quick interviews with Department of English alumnae/i, faculty, students, and staff. Five questions (with answers!) posted on Fridays. Email email@example.com if you have comments. This week's subject is Esther Porter (BA summa cum laude, 2005), a former publicist for Coffee House Press who is now freelance editing. This fall she helped launch a new literary magazine, Revolver. More . . .
Today we initiate a new weekly series, 5 X Friday: quick interviews with Department of English alumnae/i, faculty, students, and staff. Yes, there are five questions. And interviews will be posted on Fridays. Easy! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments. Our first subject is Gerald Jay Goldberg (PhD 1958), who published his first book in 1962, and followed with eight more titles. In this his 83rd year, he authored a suspense/adventure novel with Nan Talese/Doubleday. We caught up him with him via email. More . . .
Four books by English alumnae/i are featured in the summer issue of the CLA publication Reach: The latest collections by poets and BA alums Ed Bok Lee and Jim Moore are reviewed by MFA candidate Christine Friedlander and MFA alumna Molly Sutton Kiefer respectively. MA alumna Mary Francois Rockcastle's novel In Caddis Wood is reviewed by Reach editor Mary Pattock, and MFA alum Gayla Marty's memoir Memory of Trees by MFA alum Terri Sutton. Readers can get 20 percent off books reviewed in Reach's Bound to Please section at Coffman Bookstore (online as well).
Check 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.