This past spring, Regents Professor of English Patricia Hampl was honored with the Dr. Matthew Stark Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts. The award recognizes Professor Hampl's distinguished writing, teaching, and service in this area, including her work with the University's Human Rights Program establishing the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship. In 2011, Hampl co-organized an international conference devoted to the relationship between the personal narrative voice and human rights, "My Letter to the World: Narrating Human Rights." Hampl, of course, is the author of six celebrated memoirs, and she's working on a seventh. What's it about? Read on. . . .
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This fall, the Department of English welcomes Dr. Elaine Auyoung as a new assistant professor here at Minnesota. Professor Auyoung received her BA from Stanford in 2005, followed by a PhD in English from Harvard in 2011. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Associate 2011-13 at Rutgers University, where she taught Victorian literature and modern fiction. Auyoung is working on a book about, as she describes, "the surprising way in which nineteenth-century novels cue readers to feel as if vibrant, expansive fictional worlds exist beyond the printed page." At the same time, she notes, readers know that "nothing in the novel exists at all"--resulting in a cognitive dissonance that writers such as Dickens acknowledge and even encourage. More. . .
Charles Dickens did it. And last year Jennifer "Goon Squad" Egan gave it a modern spin by presenting a short story via The New Yorker's fiction Twitter feed. Fiction serialization lives again this summer, thanks to BA alumna Mary Logue, who agreed to have her novel Giving Up the Ghost printed in chunks by The Star Tribune every day from June 9 to July 28 (it's also available as an e-book). "I just wanted to write a ghost story," Logue notes in an interview with Star Tribune books editor Laurie Hertzel. Logue is a Minnesota Book Award-winning author of mysteries, young adult fiction, and poetry.
The path from English into a career in advertising is one an increasing number of English majors make. It makes sense: As ad campaign creator Tina Karelson (MA '95, English; BA '85, English and journalism) notes, a copywriter or creative director has to think analytically about creative work, and write well--which pretty much defines the primary skills learned in English. Karelson is President of Creative (what Don Draper does) at Risdall Advertising Agency in New Brighton, Minnesota's seventh oldest advertising agency and, according to a 2013 Business Journal ranking, its seventh largest. This spring Karelson was honored as a CLA Alumna of Notable Achievement. Learn what she thinks of Mad Men. . . .
When May Lee-Yang (BA 2006) signed up for a class on Asian American drama from Professor Josephine Lee, "I didn't think of myself as a theater person," she says. Two years ago, she received a prestigious Bush Leadership Fellowship to begin planning the creation of a theater focusing on Hmong American stories. In between, she's written plays and performance art pieces produced at Mu Performing Arts, Intermedia Arts, and the Fringe Festival and was a two-time winner of the Playwright Center Many Voices Fellowship. She still thinks of herself as a "memoirist who makes a living doing theater." In the meantime, she's writing another play. What about? Read on. . . .
Matthew McGuire is a senior English and Philosophy double major who will publish a short story in the new issue of Ivory Tower, celebrated with a launch party Wednesday, April 24, from 7-10 pm in the Whole Music Club. The U's undergraduate literary and art magazine, Ivory Tower is edited and produced by students in a year-long English class. McGuire was a fiction editor for Ivory Tower last year, and his story "Silence Is Sexy" was accepted through this year's blind submission process. How does he begin writing something? "I get most of my story ideas from conversations with friends or bits of speech I overhear in public," he reveals. "Most pieces start with a voice, and then I try to experiment until I find something that works." Interview by Natalia Petkovich, originally for the Ivory Tower website. More...
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!
Senior Jared Anderson is a captain of the University of Minnesota swim team, currently ranked number 14 in the country. From February 27 to March 2, Anderson and his teammates competed in the 2013 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Bloomington, Indiana, coming in fourth; Anderson took fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Both as a junior and a sophomore he received Academic All-Big Ten recognition. A double major (English and Journalism) with a minor in German, Anderson was awarded the Donald V. Hawkins Scholarship and Sharon Borine Scholarship from English. He blogged for GopherSports earlier this year about the swimming and diving team's training trip to Hawaii (give swimmers a day off, they go shark diving). 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 . . .
As the president of the student group for English majors and minors, FUSE, Ana Bichanich continues a tradition of innovative programming that earned FUSE a Student Unions & Activities Tony Diggs Excellence Award. FUSE brings together undergraduate and graduate students in mentoring relationships and encourages students to learn more about their professors through informal lunches. More . . . .
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.
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 . . .
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 . . .