The scholarship and other creative work and teaching of English faculty cover a broad range that includes literature, language, creative writing, literacy and rhetorical studies, linguistics and cultural inquiry, as well as the theories and documents that inform and critique these disciplines. Based on the study and practice of writing and speech, the explorations of histories and cultures, and the examination of languages, literatures, and aesthetics, our scope is international and our approach is interdisciplinary.
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Intent on figuring out how to construct solid plots, Professor Julie Schumacher wrote her first book for younger readers in 2004, a decade before young adult fiction became so popular it spawned an abstinence movement. Schumacher's third such effort, The Book of One Hundred Truths (2006), won a Minnesota Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. This summer she shows off her plot chops with the adult comic novel Dear Committee Members, a book consisting only of fictional letters of recommendation--from a single imagined Creative Writing professor--that nevertheless contains classic (and compelling) exposition, conflict, climax, and denouement. Indeed, as an admiring Slate review points out, what finally happens in the tale "turn[s] the book's theme upside down," revealing the moral weight beneath the undeniably funny characterizations. Schumacher launches the novel with a 7 pm reading September 3 at Elmer Andersen Library. For Schumacher's favorite novel-in-letters and other revelations, read on.
When the New York Times Book Review's thoughtful piece on his book debut described him as "the young author," 37-year-old alumnus Josh Ostergaard (MFA 2011) wasn't about to complain. Just the fact that the august Manhattan newspaper would cover his baseball essay, The Devil's Snake Curve, was thrilling. Especially given that it's a book in which Ostergaard denounces the wealthy, self-confident, and mighty New York Yankees to further, as the reviewer recognized, a larger critique of American hegemony across the globe. The "young" descriptor probably was used to distinguish him from previous baseball writers such as George Will, Ostergaard points out: "Even though I love the game, I'm less reverent." Ostergaard will be talking irreverently about baseball and his book 6:15-7:15 pm next Wednesday, August 20, at Amsterdam (6 W. 6th St., St. Paul) with Books & Bars. Read on for a preview of what he'll address.08/15/14
For BA alumna Mary Nyquist, entry level lecture classes at the U were large, yes, but also liberating: This small town native experienced anonymity as a refreshing freedom. But she wasn't anonymous for long. Encouraged by her professors, Nyquist went on to graduate school and ultimately became a literature professor at the University of Toronto. There she made a name for herself as a fearless scholar of Milton. These days she thinking and publishing about tyranny through the lens of literature and philosophy, among other interdisciplinary explorations. Read more.07/18/14