Department of English Newsletter April/May 2023

Upcoming Department Events

Publications & Acceptances

James Brunton's poem "Queer History" was accepted for publication in Copper Nickel.

Joy Castro reviewed Forbidden Notebook, the newly translated novel by Alba de Céspedes, for the Los Angeles Review of Books. De Céspedes was an antifascist Cuban Italian novelist, screenwriter, editor, and political activist in Rome during and after WWII. She was also the granddaughter of 19th-century Cuban anticolonial freedom fighter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Her novel, originally published serially in 1950 and 1951, has just been translated by Ann Goldstein, the noted translator of Elena Ferrante.

Chris Harding Thornton's second novel, Little Underworld, a darkly funny literary noir set in the weeks before Omaha's 1930 city election, is slated for release on March 12, 2024 by MCD/FSG, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Melissa Homestead's essay co-authored with Marie Leger-St.-Jean, “‘Changed to suit the English market’: American Novelist E. D. E. N. Southworth in George Stiff’s London Penny Weeklies,” appears in the spring 2023 issue of Book History.

Pascha Sotolongo Stevenson's debut story collection The Only Sound is the Wind will be published by W.W. Norton & Company. The book's speculative stories explore the nature of loneliness and difficulties of forging meaningful connections.

Ber Anena's essay "To The Stranger Who Sat Elsewhere" and interview "Behind the Essay" were published in Off Assignment.

Jamaica Baldwin's poem "What's Been Caged" was featured on The Slowdown Podcast on March 9th hosted by Major Jackson.

Kathleen Dillon's poem "To My New Friend, Stinging Nettle" was published in Teach.Write., a literary journal for writing teachers.

Uche Okonkwo's debut short story collection, A Kind of Madness, will be published by Tin House in winter 2024.

Malik Rasaq's poem "elegy at sea" was a finalist in the Porter House Review's 2022-2023 Editor's Prize (Poetry). His poem "Siege" was published in The Nation, his poem "Elegy for What Remains" was published in Tupelo Quarterly, and his poem "Ode to the Ordinariness of the World" is forthcoming in Sonora Review.

Kasey Peters' story "A Body Meant For" was published in Quarter After Eight. Her story "Deborah Forever" was selected as a 2023 AWP Intro Journals Project Winner by Gwen Kirby and will be published in a forthcoming issue of Hayden's Ferry Review.

Siwar Masannat's poem "a plan(e)t" will be published in issue 109 of the Cordite Poetry Review, guest edited by Caitlin Maling and Nadia Rhook.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Melissa Homestead gave an invited lecture on "Memorializing Willa Cather in Cold War Nebraska" as part of the Walter Prescott Webb Symposium sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington. This year's theme was "LBGTQ+ History in the American West and Southwest."

On April 20, Julia Schleck joined Christopher Newfield on the stage to discuss her book Dirty Knowledge as part of this year's Humanities on the Edge speaker series. She also spoke via Zoom with University of Texas Austin and Texas A&M faculty leaders about academic freedom and the AAUP at their annual shared governance conference on April 4.

Jamaica Baldwin was a featured reader at four events at the recent AWP Conference in Seattle, WA. These events included YesYes Books Celebration of new and forthcoming authors, Pacific MFA In Writing and Anaphora Arts: A Conversation, and A Reading Celebrating Four New Collections by UNL Poets with Katie Marya, Jess Poli, and Kimberly Reyes, hosted by alum Saddiq Dzukogi. Jamaica was also a featured reader at the Sierra Poetry Festival in Grass Valley, CA, along with poets Dorianne Laux, Joe Millar, and California poet laureate, Lee Herrick.

Kathleen Dillon presented with Dr. Rachel Azima and M Imig at the Midwest Writing Centers Association Conference; the title of their presentation was "Frequent Fliers, Complex Emotions, and Sustainable Labor Practices in the Writing Center."

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

James Brunton received a $5,000 CAS Spark Grant to fund his research on transgender filmmakers in Ireland. James will travel to Dublin this summer to conduct interviews with filmmakers and trans activists and organize a transgender film festival.

Steve Buhler made his debut in the Angels Theatre Company Salon Reading Series in Marcia Eppich-Harris's new play, Seeking Nietzsche. The reading took place at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7, in the Resonator Gallery of Turbine Flats, 2124 Y Street. Steve's roles included Richard Wagner, a Viennese doctor, and a failed Austrian painter.

Arden Eli Hill spoke with high school students at Thrive Academy in Baton Rouge, LA this month by presenting an online talk “Surviving Queer Southern Adolescence to Become a Writer” to the Proud Families club.

Mirhuanda Meeks earned two certifications this year through the National Association of Educational Mirhuanda Meeks holding her plaqueOffice Professionals. The first, a Professional Standards Program (PSP) bachelor's degree, requires office professionals not only to complete an educational component but also to document their professional activity via in-service training, association responsibility, and work experience in an educational office. The second is the distinction of Certified Educational Office Employee (CEOE), for which recipients who apply must participate in continuing education and professional leadership activities. Mirhuanda earned her PSP bachelor’s degree and CEOE in February of this year, for which she was awarded a plaque. Congratulations, Mirhuanda!

Julia Schleck facilitated a discussion after the National Theatre Live broadcast of William Shakespeare's Othello on Sunday, April 7, 1 p.m. at the Ross Media Arts Center. The production was guided by Clint Dyer, the first black director of the play at any leading British theatre, not just at the National. Giles Terera, who won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance as Aaron Burr in the first London staging of Hamilton, was Othello. Rosy McEwen, who won the 2022 British Independent Film Best Lead Performance Award for her role in Blue Jean, was Desdemona.

Ashlyn Stewart has accepted a position at Boston College, serving as a Digital Scholarship Specialist in their Libraries, beginning in July. She is eager to put to work the training she has received in the Digital Humanities at UNL, especially at the Walt Whitman and Charles W. Chesnutt Archives.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

The Department of English encourages our faculty and current students to submit stories about their activities and publications of note by filling out the Department Newsletter Submission Form.