2017 Graduating Creative Writing Honors Concentrators will be reading selections from their thesis.
Dakota Connell-Ledwon: Dakota Connell-Ledwon’s addiction to stories began when she was a child. An immediate result was a particularly engrossing library book slipping out of her hands and into a toilet. A longer-term result has been Dakota’s persistent exploration of the art of storytelling. She has produced multiple short documentaries and has written for local and national news organizations, but she always finds herself returning to creative writing. Her thesis, “Empty Air,” explores connections between loss, humor, and the supernatural.
John Darr: John Darr is a poet, teacher and musician from Richmond, VA. He has a fascination for abstract language of artists like Tan Lin, Gertrude Stein and Daniel Dumile and often presents his work in conjunction with visual or sonic accompaniments. John will continue his studies in poetry through Wichita State University’s MFA program this fall.
Allison Griffith: Allie Griffith is a Senior double major in English and American Studies from Akron, Ohio. She believes that stories, and the ways we tell them, matter, and she has enjoyed studying the power of narrative in both her majors. Her thesis is a written collage of both poetry and fiction that grapples with what it means to be brave in contemporary America. It hopefully leads to more questions than answers. Next year, Allie will continue her passion for reading, writing, and service by teaching high school English through Notre Dame’s ACE Teaching Fellows Grad Program.
Rebecca Yuan Feng: Rebecca Feng is from Beijing, China. She did not start to speak English on a daily basis until she came to America at the age of eighteen. That was also the time she realized how much she loved the Chinese language and how speaking Chinese had shaped her way of thinking. At the beginning of her sophomore year, she switched her major from accounting and applied math to accounting and English and that remained one of her best decisions. Her novella explores the link between language and perception and attempts to articulate the sensations of cultural displacement and nostalgia through narratives. She hopes through writing about an internal refugee experience, she can come to understand with her past. Rebecca will return to where she has studied abroad at, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and begin a master of literature there in the fall.
Laura Gruszka: If lost, please return Laura Gruszka to the Notre Dame drumline. Laura, who was born and raised in Valparaiso, IN, is excited to announce she will be attending Columbia University in the fall to pursue an MFA in fiction writing. Her thesis, a portion of a novel, aims to subvert fantasy genre conventions of gender, sexuality, and light and darkness. She is currently obsessed with Helen Oyeyemi’s work, and she hopes there will be free coffee here.
Mary Humphrey: Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Mary Humphrey holds those Midwest “fly-over” states close to her heart. She is majoring in math and English and is also pursuing a concentration in Honors Creative Writing. As a senior (totally not terrified of her impending future), she hopes to acquire an math-based position to stimulate the analytical side of her brain while keeping sufficient time in her schedule for writing. She has three younger siblings to whom she attributes most, if not all, of her maturity, responsibility, and compassion. Her writing generally at least borders on the fantastical, with magical realism as her usual genre of choice. This year she has focused on writing her creative thesis, a novel entitled Wings from which she will be reading
Natalie (Sarang) Kim: Natalie Kim is another undergrad from the “suburbs of Chicago” (Elgin, IL). She is double majoring in Accounting and English with a concentration in creative writing. She considers herself a Korean-American poet dabbling in the realm of the grotesque. She likes to spend her free time playing games like Catan with friends.
Megan McCormack: Megan McCormack is an English major with a supplementary major in French, a minor in Art History, and a concentration in Creative Writing. She has lived in Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, and currently flies between Los Angeles and South Bend once every few months. She hopes to never take a Coach USA bus again after graduation. Her writing has been featured in Notre Dame’s literary magazine ReVisions, and her work focuses on anything and everything that she thinks about while she’s lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep (i.e. gender, childhood, climate change, recently read books, sugar addiction, etc.). She enjoys running, eating as much dessert as possible, and spending time with friends, preferably while speaking in accents or watching Parks and Rec.
Maura Monahan: Maura Monahan is a native of Holland... Michigan and is graduating with a B.A. in English and Music, with concentrations in Creative Writing and Vocal Performance. She has spent much of her time at Notre Dame singing in Chorale and in operas and in Pasquerilla East’s liturgical ensemble and in recitals and under her breath in her dorm room, studying and interning in Dublin and looking for another excuse to return, and writing for pleasure when she should be writing for class. She believes herself to be employable, but for now, her future plans are one big TBD. Her thesis, titled Unmoored and directed by Valerie Sayers, is an excerpt from a planned longer piece of fiction that focuses on the endurance of grief and the difficulty of balancing mourning, memorialization, and moving on.
Matthew Munro (not reading)
Jianna Park: Born and raised in South Korea, Jianna Jihyun Park is a senior at the University of Notre Dame where she is a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program. Her creative honors thesis was a collection of poems that dealt with the issues of mental illness. Her work has appeared in CreatEng, Re:Visions, Notre Dame Magazine, and Aisthesis. She will be pursuing her MFA degree in Writing at Pratt Institute this fall.