Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is an associate professor in the Department of English, director of the Creative Writing Program, and the author of the novel Call Me Zebra, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In this interview, she discusses how her writing examines how patterns of migration have shaped literature, how history imprints itself on physical landscapes, and her new novel, Savage Tongues, which looks at questions of nationhood, identity, memory.
Matthew Wilkens is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include contemporary American fiction, digital humanities, and computational literary studies.
“Do what you feel naturally inclined to do, where your skills and abilities are taking you, what you're best at. It really has helped me to narrow down and find the right career,” said Elizabeth Simari ’08. An English and Italian major in the College of Arts and Letters, Simari studied abroad in Rome during her junior year. Her interest in the language, history, and culture of Italy developed into a passion, leading her to move to Sicily after graduation. After teaching English for a year and then earning a master's degree in literature, she wrote for L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s English-language newspaper, and now teaches at the University of Loyola Chicago's campus in Rome.
Valerie Sayers is a professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of six novels as well as numerous short stories, essays, and reviews. In this video, she discusses her approach to writing, the way modern fiction has evolved based on contemporary concerns, and the strength of Notre Dame's Creative Writing Program.
“Scholars who have worked on Charles II have tended to back away from the sensational side of the Restoration," said Laura Knoppers, professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. “When I come to Charles II, I see that mode of luxury as central to his political power and is essential to the way that that monarchy is representing itself in England.” Knoppers’ research centers on the 17th century and intersections between literature, visual culture, politics, and religion.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot about the publishing industry and what it’s like to put together a book,” says Meghan Thomassen, a senior English major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. During the summer of 2013, Thomassen interned at Sheffield Marketing Partners, a boutique agency based in Downers Grove, Illinois, specializing in narrative message development and visual storytelling.
“How do you define the English language in a very complex world in which native English speakers account for less than a third of the number of people who speak English today?” says Tim Machan, professor of English in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“After graduating Notre Dame, would I have ever said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a TV writer in Hollywood?’ Never in a million years,” says Linda Gase, a Notre Dame graduate with a degree in English. She is currently co-executive producer of Switched at Birth, a one-hour drama on ABC Family. Gase has also written for ER, The District, Crossing Jordan, and Army Wives. She credits her strength as a writer to the time she spent at Notre Dame developing her critical thinking skills and examining her point of view. “The biggest challenge of a writer is to trust your voice, and I feel that at Notre Dame, I really honed my voice.”
“As a singer, I spend all my time dealing with texts. I sing poetry, I sing theatre, I’m singing in different languages, and all my training at Notre Dame helped me immensely for that,” says Paul Appleby ’05.
“I wouldn’t have traded my English major at Notre Dame for any other major,” says Greg Miller, ’87, a managing director at Greenhill and Company, an investment bank in New York City.