This Week in English | September 16 – 22, 2019

First Open House a Success

I’m pleased to report that the Open House hosted by the English Department last Thursday afternoon was well-attended and warmly-received. Undergraduate and graduate students met with professors in their offices and over refreshments—donut holes! candy corn! apples and apple cider!— in the Wicks Reading Room and the Writing Center (where former director and Emeritus Professor Harvey Kail had guest lectured in Paige Mitchell’s class earlier in the day: more on that below). Conversation was lively and the atmosphere was friendly—and the good news, for those of you who might have missed it—is that we’ll do another one later this fall. Keep an eye out for details in future bulletins.

Fiction Writer Sarah Rose Etter Reads Thursday in the New Writing Series

The first event of the fall 2019 New Writing Series will feature fiction writer Sarah Rose Etter, who is the author of Tongue Party, selected by Deb Olin Unferth (NWS S’14) as the winner of the Caketrain Press award, and The Book of X, her first novel. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be introduced by Greg Howard. A question and answer session will follow.

Amber Sparks (NWS F’16 and judge of the 2017 Grady Awards) writes about meeting with Etter to discuss The Book of X for Bustle. And Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminism, says of the book: “Etter brilliantly, viciously lays bare what it means to be a woman in the world, what it means to hurt, to need, to want, so much it consumes everything.”

The New Writing Series celebrates its twentieth anniversary season in 2019/20. While its new website is under construction, the NWS Facebook group is a good way to keep up to date on upcoming events. Photographs from events dating back to 2008 can be seen on the NWS Flickr page.

Center for Undergraduate Research Application Deadline October 11

Attention, undergraduates: Have a cool idea you’d like to develop this year in dialogue with an English professor? The Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) seeks to enhance and increase undergraduate student involvement in faculty-mentored research by offering grants of $1,100 to meritorious projects. Students who meet the CUGR fellowship application deadline of October 11 for humanities projects are automatically eligible for research fellowships awarded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the McGillicuddy Humanities Center. For further details, ask any English professor you’re taking a class with, or your advisor, or drop by the department. We’d like to see English majors well-represented in this academic year’s cohort and are here to help!

News from the Writing Center

Writing Center Director Paige Mitchell writes in with this welcome update:

We’re starting out strong this year with eleven returning peer-tutors. Last week was our first official opening, and we’ve already had nineteen tutorials, which occupied 40% of our available hours. These are great numbers for week one! During our English Department open house our UMaine Writing Center Director for 38 years, Harvey Kail, made a guest appearance in ENG 395, our peer-tutor training internship.

If you’re interested in checking out our space, please feel free to walk in, or schedule an appointment through our link here. We’re open daily Mondays – Wednesdays between 8am & 5pm, and nightly Mondays – Thursdays between 5-9pm in Fogler library. We have one satellite location in the Honors college on Wednesdays from 9-10 staffed by Maddy Jackson.

We have two new tutor coordinators:

Kate Follansbee, a communications major, economics minor, and an Honors student. She also tutors for political science, philosophy, rhetorical theory, and public speaking, and plays for UMaine’s symphonic band.

Jane Horvitz, an English major in analytical writing, and Honors student, who plays in the Screaming Black Bears Pep Band and works as a copy editor at the Maine Campus.

Looking Ahead

Mohegan playwright, director, and Shakespeare scholar Madeline Sayet will be the Visiting Libra Professor at UMaine from October 1-23, 2019. In advance of her residency, you can read her essay “America’s obsession with killing Indians hasn’t died,” which was published earlier this month in highcountrynews. Sayet is a Forbes 30 Under 30, NCAID Native American 40 Under 40, TED Fellow, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama for her work as a director and writer. Madeline Sayet visited Orono in April 2018 to participate in the Tan Katotsanin New Native Tribal Plays Festival. The festival was started in 2017 by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr., and it is to his credit that we were able to bring Ms. Sayet here then, and again this fall. For more information about her activities as a Libra Professor, please contact Margaret Lukens, director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, or William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.

The Stephen E. King Chair is sponsoring an education residency that will bring two members of the American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, VA) to campus November 5-7 to conduct a series of workshops with various classes at UMaine and at Orono High School. On Wednesday, November 6th, 5:00-7:30pm in the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre, they will be facilitating a community-wide performance workshop using scenes from Othello to engage us in a conversation about Others and Othering. Please encourage your students (and anyone from beyond the UMaine community who you think would be interested in this event) to come join us. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Caroline Bicks.


This Week in English 60 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, September 16, 2019. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website.

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