English Department News Letter and Calendar

A .pdf version of this newsletter for printing is available here
Last year's newsletter can be found here.

Faculty Highlights
This summer Joy Castro will celebrate the release of her newest novel, Nearer Home. Nearer Home Castro’s previous book, literary thriller HELL OR HIGH WATER (St. Martin's, 2012), has been named to Kirkus Review’s list of best book for 2012 and has been optioned for film.
UNL’s Department of English, as well as the Prairie Schooner, is lucky to have Chancellor Professor of English Kwame Dawes walking the halls.  Dawes arrived at UNL in 2011 and has since been the recipient of several honors and awards to add to his long list of accomplishments.  Dawes currently serves as the editor of the Prairie Schooner and has aided in the journal’s growing national and international reputation.  Dawes teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in African American Literature and Creative Writing.

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Professor of Film Studies at UNL, has been hard at work this year adding new videos to his “Frame by Frame” series, Frame by Framea collection of short films in which Dixon records academic reviews and film recommendations for his viewers.  This year Dixon has added many films to his series including an examination of the work of Charlie Chaplin, a visual recording highlighting the technicalities of reviewing films, and a video unveiling his documentary recommendations.

There is good news for Digital Humanities at UNL!  Matthew Jockers, an Assistant Professor at UNL, has recently been recognized for devising a new computerized system of literary analysis which he calls “Macroanalysis.” Macroanalysis allows literary theorists to quickly compare thousands of books to one another and identify recurring themes and literary influence.  Jockers’s recognition came in the form of an article in New Scientist and related stories in Wired UK, NBC News, and Smithsonian online.

Associate Professor Stephan Ramsay and Assistant Professor Roland Végsö were selected for the 2013 College Awards for Distinguished Teaching. Ramsay specializes in digital humanities and theory of new media. Végsö specializes in critical and literary theory.
Win the Dean's Money 
Dr. Végsö also won the College’s “Win the Dean’s Money” contest recognizing students’ favorite classes.

Department Highlights

In February the UNL Department of English hosted the first “Enhancing the English Experience Luncheon” at the Jackie Gaughan Campus Multicultural Center.
This grant-sponsored event was open to advanced English majors interested in networking with faculty, alumni, and fellow students in order to discover new, creative, and meaningful career opportunities.

  The UNL Department of English hosts numerous award-winning writers each semester.  This past year, internationally acclaimed fiction writer Lorrie Moore and award-winning poet Li-Young Lee visited campus.  Moore, known for her humorous and poignant prose and Midwest focus, is the author of three short story collections: Self Help, Like Life and Birds of America. She has also written three novels: Anagram, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital and A Gate at the Stairs. Poet Li-Young Lee was the UNL writer in residence during the spring semester.  Lee is the author of "Behind My Eyes; Book of My Nights," which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; "The City in Which I Love You," which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and "Rose," which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. He has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
Blake Easter
January proved to be an exciting time for the Prairie Schooner, which held a two-day event celebrating the publication of their winter issue!  The event featured a visit and presentation by highly acclaimed author and film-writer Sherman Alexie (Reservation Blues, Indian Killers, Smoke Signals) at UNL’s Ross Theatre.  Alexie served as the “guest editor” for Prairie Schooner’s winter issue, providing his insight into the modern-day experiences of American Indians. 
Student Highlights
The Literary League, UNL’s undergraduate English club, had a busy schedule this past year.  The club holds events including book discussions, movie screenings, and lectures by UNL faculty.  Literary League’s goal is to bridge the gap between academia, literature, cinema, and all things media by holding events that capture the interest of a wide array of students.  In November Literary League hosted a well-attended screening and discussion of The Princess Bride.  For their December “Dickens and Cocoa” event, students warmed up with a social gathering featuring selected readings from and discussions of Charles Dickens.  This past spring, the club hosted a haiku workshop and a screening of the popular TV show Downton Abbey.
Career Zoom – each of these newsletters will zoom in on one possible career path for English majors—a Career Zoom!  This issue features “Teaching English Abroad” by UNL English Major (20xx-2013) Blake Easter:

Teaching English Abroad
I first thought about teaching abroad when I became involved in the Intensive English Program (IEP) at UNL. Teaching English abroad is an amazing way to travel and to immerse oneself in a new culture. My time in Korea reaffirmed to me the variety of educational belief systems, and how amazing and fascinating the human race really is.  My experiences abroad and internship at the IEP have helped my English, my future, and my understanding of humanity.

For more information, contact Kelly Payne at: (402) 472-3870 or kpayne2@unl.edu.