This Week in English | March 18-24, 2024

Caroline Bicks Book on Stephen King Announced

Just before the spring break, David Ebershoff, Vice-President and Editor in Chief at Hogarth Press, made the following announcement on Instagram:

For the past year Caroline Bicks, the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature at the University of Maine, has been reading her way through the master of horror’s archives. The first writer given full access to King’s materials, Caroline has discovered fascinating insight into his creative process and the origins of some of his most iconic books, including Carrie and The Shining. Her forthcoming book—Monsters in the Archives: My Year of Fear with Stephen King—illuminates King’s many artistic choices as he wrote and rewrote some of his seminal works. It also tells the wonderful personal story of a professor coming to understand the legendary writer who shaped her life in more ways than she first realized. This is a book about how fiction works and how and why writers create, showing in precise, thrilling detail how King has put millions and millions of readers under his spell. If you loved George Saunders’s A Swim in a Pond in the Rain or even King’s own On Writing, you will love this book. And to all my writer friends — I promise you will learn a great deal about the craft of writing and its many mysteries, as shown by one of its masters.

Welcome to Hogarth, Caroline! I can’t wait to publish Monsters in the Archives.

Professor Bicks is teaching a senior seminar this semester on “convents, covens, and crusaders” to sixteen students, most of them English majors nearing the completion of their degrees. She is also teaching a 200-level course on the plays of Shakespeare. She joined our faculty as the inaugural Stephen E. King Chair in Literature in 2017. 

Arrow Smith Receives 2024 CUGR Fellowship for Summer Research

Arrow Smith, a second year student in English and Anthropology, has been awarded a 2024 CUGR Summer Fellowship to conduct writing studies research with Heather Falconer. Smith’s study will examine the graffiti as a public writing event on the UMaine campus and differences based on gendered spaces. As noted in their proposal

Graffiti is often depicted as a criminal activity. However, graffiti within public space is often a community-based conversation using layers of social interaction to converse in a seemingly anonymous manner. This qualitative study aims to explore the differences between graffiti depictions in different public restroom spaces across seven buildings at the University of Maine. Through photo mapping of these public spaces, rhetorical analysis of the graffiti, and an anonymous survey, the study will look at the differences between mens, womens, and gender neutral restrooms. This study will contribute to understanding of the gender normative differences between graffiti and its depictions in anonymous public spaces across campus. 

This project was inspired by discussions in ENG 215: Theories and Practices of Writing, being offered for the first time this spring. Smith will present their work at the CUGR Symposium later this year.

Submissions Invited for English Writing Awards

Submission guidelines for the annual competitions for excellence in writing essays, fiction, poetry, and plays at both the undergraduate and the graduate level can be found in the image below. The deadline is three Fridays from now, on April 5th.

Heather Falconer Visits Northeastern University to Talk Books and Publishing

Heather Falconer visited with members of the Northeastern University community on February 27th to talk about her 2022 book, Masking inequality with good intentions. During her visit, she also met with graduate students to discuss the publishing industry and how to capitalize on coursework and dissertation research for early career publications.

Queer Romance Author Cat Sebastian Visits March 26

WGS is hosting queer romance author Cat Sebastian for a Q&A and writing workshop on Tuesday, March 26 at 12:30 and 5pm respectively. No advance registration is required for the lunch-time Q&A. The afternoon workshop is open to all UMaine community members but is limited to forty participants. Advance registration is required. Please email Elizabeth Neiman at to reserve a spot. The first 18 undergraduates to reserve a spot will receive a free copy of Sebastian’s 2023 novel We Could Be So Good! This event is co-sponsored by the Stephen E. King Chair. Sebastian is on IG here.

Deadline for McGillicuddy Fellowships Extended to March 27 

Due to the original deadline falling during Spring Break, our colleagues at the McGillicuddy Humanities Center are extending the deadline application for MHC faculty grants and fellowships to March 27, 2024.

  1. MHC Faculty Grant award applications are being accepted for maximum awards of $5,000 to support faculty at all levels (including lecturers and adjunct instructors), for their research, community engagement, or innovative teaching proposals. For more information, visit Email completed grant applications and budget forms to Director Beth Wiemann ( by March 27 for the Spring 2024 deadline.
  2. The MHC Undergraduate Fellows program offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to work on independent research or creative projects in the humanities under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Fellows receive $4,000 each per semester, or $8,000 in total, and present the outcome of their work to a public audience upon culmination of their fellowship term. For more information and application instructions, visit

For more information, feel free to contact or  

The Open Field Launch Party on April 4    

The student editors of UMaine’s undergraduate literary magazine The Open Field invite you to come celebrate the 2024 installment of the journal with contributors and editors. The event will take place at 4pm in the Writing Center and food and refreshments will be on offer.

Morgan Talty to Talk about Tommy Orange Novel at Maine Humanities Council event on April 6 

The Maine Humanities Council is hosting a Readers Retreat at UMaine on Saturday, April 6. As Morgan Talty informs us:

A number of events will be occurring starting at 8 am to 5 pm at UMaine (Wells Conference Center), but at 1:15 pm I will be giving a lecture on There There and Native Fiction, and then at 3:30 there will be a panel of three Native writers (me, Brendan Basham, and Julian Noisecat). 

More details about the day’s events can be found here

On February 27, just after our last bulletin was circulated, Talty’s interview with Tommy Orange was published in Esquire under the title “Tommy Orange Refuses to Be Your Tour Guide to Native Life.”

Save the Date for EGSA Spring Symposium on April 18

The English Graduate Student Association has announced that the annual spring symposium celebrating the creative and scholarly work of the department’s MA students will take place on April 18 from 5-8pm in the Writing Center (Neville 402). We will share details about the program in this bulletin nearer to the date.

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University of Maine Language Acknowledgment