Monday, June 28, 2010

Our New Website


Our new departmental website is being rolled out as I write. At the moment, it's a work in progress, so please be patient with us as the kinks get worked out and various aspects of the website become operational. But we're thrilled to be the first humanities department in Columbian College to have our website redesigned by the fabulous web developers at CCAS. Thank you to University Web Developer Ryan Dellolio and others in CCAS who have been so helpful in facilitating the process. And thanks also to grad student Desirea Harris, who has been helping to coordinate things from the inside.

Right now, the website has a link to this blog, which will also soon be reskinned (so it matches the look of the website) and migrated to WordPress (from Blogspot, our current host). We hope soon to have an RSS feed from the blog to the website, so that when you navigate to the website you'll also be able to keep in touch with the latest department news.

As the summer progresses, we'll also be adding new and updated content, including more information for undergraduates and better information about our graduate students. Look for those and other new features soon.

Even in its infancy, this new site is cleaner looking with better navigation. We hope you find it easier to use. One regret we have, however, is that we're losing our old URL. It's still operational. When you type "www.gwu.edu/~english" into your browser, you'll be redirected to the new website. (Same thing for individual faculty pages, etc.) That said, our old URL,

www. gwu.edu/~english,

was so elegant and concise. Don't you just love the tilda, aka the "squiggle"? I love just saying the word: tilda, tilda, tilda. Sadly, our new URL forfeits that brilliance for something serviceable but unwieldy:

http://columbian.gwu.edu/departmentsprograms/english

What's with "departmentsprograms"? I just returned from a scholarly conference in Berlin, and that phrase sounds and looks a lot like some of the phrases Mark Twain satirized in his wonderfully funny 1880 essay That Awful German Language. "These things are not words, they're alphabetical processions," wrote Twain, in response to meandering German coinages like Alterthumswissenschaften. Maybe CCAS will find a way around departmentsprograms. Until then, we will pine over the loss of our old URL, complete with that aesthetically satisfying tilda, even as we celebrate the arrival of our sleek new look.

Monday, June 14, 2010

GW Grad Deemed "New Queer Voice to Watch"


Lambda Literary bills itself as "the leader in LGBT [lesbian gay bisexual transgender] book reviews, author interviews, opinion and news since 1989." The organization is also sponsor of the Lambda Literary Awards, or Lammys, the prestigious awards given every year to LGBT authors. The award honors writing in multiple genres, and recognizes works published by large and small presses alike.

On June 14, Lamba Literary featured "Five New Queer Voices to Watch" on its website. These writers have not (yet) won a Lammy, although the organization deems "undeniable," up-and-coming talents.

One name on that list struck us: Michael Fauver, a 2007 graduate of GWU with a major in English and Creative Writing. Here's what Lambda Literary had to say about Fauver, who was cited for excellence in fiction:
Going into his second year pursuing his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Michael Fauver has already won the accolades of residences at Yaddo and MacDowell, and writes a broad range of fiction and short stories. He’s currently working on Why I Won’t Remember Who You Were, a novel that combines elements of magical realism and historical fiction, set during the Cold War. In addition, he’s working on a series of surrealist short stories, including one about a mute opera singer, and another about gay air-traffic controllers. Rich with imagination and confident narration, Fauver is a fresh voice in new fiction.
When asked about the future of queer literature, his responses are thoughtful and optimistic. “I have mixed feelings about these kinds of [queer] distinctions,” he cautions. “I just think the future of literature lies, as always, with our most open-minded, fearless writers. I’m interested in what’s brave, queer or otherwise.” So, what’s on the horizon? Among other breakthroughs, Fauver concludes, “We’re going to see more humor and genre mixing, and we’re going to see more surrealism, magical realism, and science fiction. The sooner we as writers, gay or straight, embrace these wonderful modes, the sooner we can get down to the business of writing fantastic, courageous fiction.”
Inspiring, right?

Here is an article the GW Hatchet published back in May 2007, when Fauver was spotlighted as an "intriguing senior" en route from GW to Yaddo, the renowned New York artists' community. And here is a previous post from this blog, in Fauver's own words.

At GW, Fauver was editor of Wooden Teeth, the University's oldest literary journal. His novel-in-progress is the intriguingly titled Why I Won't Remember Who You Were.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thanks to our recent supporters

Thanks to the following recent supporters of the English department:

  • Ms. Rochelle E. Deavy
  • Dr. Charles M. Hanson
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Hickok
  • Ms. Erika Lauren Kauder
  • Mrs. Michal Fromer Mufson
  • Dr. Jeanne Marie Rose
  • Ms. Sara Ann Schwartz
  • Ms. Madeleine A. Starkey
  • Ms. Kelley Cherise Stokes
  • Mr. Jon K. Williams

These generous donors allow us to continue our tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and service. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Graduate Students to Present at Children's Literature Conference

The Children's Literature Association, or ChLA, is an organization devoted to encouraging high standards of criticism, scholarship, research, and teaching in children’s literature--a field more or less "invented" in 1973, when a group of professors set out to remedy the scholarly silence around--even embarrassment about--literature written for children. Every year the organization hosts a national conference that brings together a diverse group of scholars working in the field. Our own Emerita Professor Judith A.A. Plotz is a past president (2002-03) of the ChLA, and Richard Flynn, a GW English Ph.D., is recent past editor of the journal Children's Literature Association Quarterly.

This year's annual conference is June 8-10 at Eastern Michigan University, and I'm proud to report that seven GWU graduate students are presenting work: Rachel Vorona, Erin Sheley, Erin Vander Wall, Amber Vasquez, Rosemary Tonoff, Mark DeCicco, and Meghan Mercier. The first six were students in Professor Plotz's
spring seminar on "Romanticism and Golden Age Children's Literature." Meghan is doing a dissertation on the Juvenile Historical Novel, 1850-1920. Congrats to all, and have fun in Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor.