Now a program of the Los Angeles Times Foundation, the prizes are dedicated to honoring literary luminaries, championing new voices and celebrating the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.
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.
Evelyn Diaz’s career has taken her to the top of Chicago’s governmental, social service, and nonprofit sectors. And at every stop along the way, Diaz ’92 has relied on skills she cultivated as an English major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Roy Scranton, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has won a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in recognition of his fiction writing. Since 1989, the foundation has given literary awards and fellowships to both established and emerging writers “of distinctive literary merit who demonstrate potential for continued outstanding work.”
Junior Katherine Smith has been selected for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the spring 2018 academic term. Smith, an English and theology double major from Saint Charles, Minnesota, will study in Italy through the Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway.
Associate Professor of English Matthew Wilkens is fascinated by the use of geography in literature over time. How, for example, did the Civil War affect the importance of certain places in American literature, and what can literature tells us about Americans’ sense of place? The answer can be found in books written during that period — potentially thousands of them, many more than Wilkens could ever read and analyze himself. He was recently awarded a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bolster Textual Geographies, a database and suite of tools he is developing that allow users to find, map, and analyze more than 14 billion place name mentions from books and journals in English, Spanish, German, and Chinese.
David Wallace, the Judith Rodin Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, will be be the 2018 Yusko Ward-Phillips Lecturer. Wallace will spend the week of April 8, 2018, at Notre Dame, presenting a series of graduate seminars and giving a public lecture on Thursday, April 12.
The first edition of Laura Dassow Walls' new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, sold out even before the official publication date of July 12, 2017, Thoreau’s 200th birthday. And Walls has been interviewed by NPR and the BBC, along with receiving positive book reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Wall Street Journal. “Laura’s book is quite remarkable, and it’s been exciting to see it getting such a wonderful reception,” said John T. McGreevy, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “It’s certainly gotten more attention than any book of ours in recent memory.”
Mark Sanders is pushing the geographical boundaries of the study of English literature. Through his scholarly work, he aims to expand the traditional English canon beyond the United Kingdom and United States and to broaden the corpus of black writing, particularly that of black Atlantic authors. Sanders, who joins Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall after 25 years at Emory University in Atlanta, specializes in early 20th-century American and African American literature and culture, as well as Afro-Cuban and Afro-Latino literature and culture.
Barry McCrea — the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies and a professor of English, Irish language and literature, and Romance languages and literatures — has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Princeton University Humanities Council. McCrea will spend the spring 2018 semester at Princeton as a visiting professor in the Humanities Council and the Faber Fellow in Comparative Literature. While there, he will continue work on his upcoming novel, tentatively titled Thorn Island, and will teach an advanced literature course to a mix of undergraduate and graduate students.
They wrote poetry in Dublin coffee shops over plates of scones and artfully embellished cappuccinos — the curl of steam and lilt of Irish conversation rising and fading in the background. They wrote prose on the grassy shores of Lough Pollaacapull, where the towers and crenellations of Kylemore Abbey reflect in the waters below. They wrote in the Abbey’s common room into the wee hours of the morning. And everywhere, the 16 students in Notre Dame’s first Creative Writing Workshop in Ireland found inspiration — in the landscape, in the country’s literary history, and in each other.
Michelle Karnes believes imagination is the key to understanding medieval meditations about the life of Christ. When readers picture themselves holding Jesus as a baby or feeding him, it evokes powerful emotions, she said. “There are good cognitive reasons why imagining yourself participating in Christ’s life helps you engage with the narrative,” she said. “It causes you to invest yourself in a more profound way.” Karnes joins the faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall as an associate professor of English, after eight years at Stanford University.
The retreat was sponsored by the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), an interdisciplinary group of literary scholars from across the U.S. and Europe dedicated to promoting comparative study. Co-directed by Notre Dame professor Barry McCrea and Maria DiBattista of Princeton University, the organization seeks to develop a new model for networking and scholarly collaboration in the humanities — one that stresses the importance of collaboration across generational, national, and institutional boundaries.
The English Department is pleased to welcome five new faculty members to campus this fall.
Ernest Morrell’s passion to better serve at-risk youth and their families and help break the cycle of poverty led him to embark on a prolific academic career, where he has formed a generation of future teachers, scholars, and leaders dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized urban youth. Morrell joins Notre Dame’s faculty this summer, as he assumes the Coyle Professorship in Literacy Education, with appointments in the Department of English, the Department of Africana Studies, and the Institute for Educational Initiatives.
As the 200th birthday of American icon Henry David Thoreau is celebrated around the world on July 12, Laura Dassow Walls, author of the comprehensive biography Henry David Thoreau: A Life, will be commemorating the date in Concord, Massachusetts, Thoreau’s birthplace. Walls, the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English, is a leading scholar of Thoreau. Thoreau: A Life, the first comprehensive biography of the life of Thoreau since Walter Harding’s The Days of Henry Thoreau was published in 1965, was officially released by the University of Chicago Press Wednesday.
English Ph.D. alumna Ana Jimenez-Moreno has been awarded the 2017–2018 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship at the University of Georgia Press. Jimenez-Moreno began her apprenticeship in scholarly publishing when she was awarded an inaugural 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship from the College of Arts and Letters, enabling her to work throughout the academic year with Stephen Wrinn, director of the University of Notre Dame Press.
Barry Lopez believes we are on the verge of global upheaval — in the way democracies function, in the way economies work, in the way countries cope with unprecedented numbers of refugees and the effects of climate change. But he also believes that Notre Dame students are “unusually qualified to do something about it.” A renowned essayist, fiction writer, and former Department of American Studies faculty member, Lopez received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in 1966 and a master’s degree in 1968. He returned to his alma mater last month to give a lecture on sustainability — and to offer his encouragement to current students.
Roy Scranton, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in fall 2016, doesn't write about war the way most Americans do. In his acclaimed debut novel War Porn and in his nonfiction writing in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and the LA Review of Books, the Iraq War veteran pushes back against what he calls "the trauma hero" — the trope of making the American soldier the victim of American military aggresion.
Mimi Ensley, a Ph.D. student from the Department of English, won the 2017 Notre Dame Graduate School Shaheen Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) on Monday night in Jordan Auditorium. The Shaheen 3MT is a communication competition where graduate students from the Colleges of Engineering, Science and Arts and Letters try to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, in three minutes or less. Competitors addressed a panel of judges in front of a live audience using one static slide as part of their presentation.