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Department of English Past Events

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Fall 2018

The Pinch Release Party- November 2nd, 2018


On November 2nd, English Graduate students, faculty, and friends celebrated the release of Volume 38.2 of The Pinch. Special thanks to Novel. Bookstore for hosting a great reading by some of the issue's featured authors, including Adam Byko in Fiction and Karyna McGlynn in Poetry. Visit The Pinch's website  and Facebook page  for more information on this amazing journal! 

the pinch partyMarisa Haley Pinch Party

Dolen Perkins-Valdez Book Reading and Interview- October 25th, 2018


On October 25th, The Department of English welcomed University of Memphis alumna and New York Times Best-Selling Author Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Our interiewers, graduate students Rosalind Guy and Haley Quinton, led a generous discussion about the books and the writing process from the eyes of a best-selling author. A special thanks goes out to Ms. Perkins-Valdez, The River City Writers' Series, The Pinch, and the Creative Writing Club, as well as those who attended. 

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Discover Your Major Day 2018- September 20th, 2018

Thanks to the Department of English Academic Advisor with the help of many English Department faculty members, Discover Your Major Day was a huge success! It was a blast speaking with students from different backgrounds and showcasing the many positive ways a degree in English can further your career and your future. If you missed us on Discover Your Major Day, check out our Undergraduate Page for more information! 

Department of English Professor Alice Bolin Book Reading- September 20th, 2018

On Thursday, September 20th, University of Memphis Creative Writing professor Alice Bolin welcomed fans and students to a reading from her acclaimed book of essays, "Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession" at Novel Bookstore. Thanks to Alice Bolin and Kendra Vanderlip for an amazing evening! 

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Department of English Open House- September 13th, 2018

Thank you to everyone who came out the the First Annual Department of English Open House on September 13th! We hope that everyone had a great time learning more about the six concentrations our department has to offer. A special thanks to all of our student speakers, program coordinators, and our academic advisor Bridget Wells for putting together such a great event.

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Summer 2018

Rediscovering Harry Potter: Sources, Landscapes, and Legacies

On May 9th-19th, 2018, fourteen students and English instructors Tammy Jones and Cathy Dice traveled to London and Edinburgh for the Study Abroad course, Rediscovering Harry Potter: Sources, Landscapes and Legacies. Cathy Dice, Tammy Jones, and all of the student Potterheads had a magical time! Want to learn more and join us in Summer 2020? Check out the Study Abroad page!

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Spring 2018

Seeing Civil Rights Symposium- March 29th, 2018

On Thursday, March 29th the Brooks Museum of Art welcomed Teju Cole to speak at the Seeing Civil Rights Symposium. Teju Cole is the author of Known and Strange Things, Open City, and Blind Spot and is a photography critic for New York Times Magazine. This event was sponsored by The University of Memphis' Departments of English and History, as well as the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and Remembering George Riley at MLK50 Fund. Photography credit: Yasmine Omari- Marketing and Education Outreach Coordinator at Germantown Performing Arts Center.

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Fall 2017

Bob Cowser Presented by River City Writers' Series- September 25th and 26th, 2017

On September 25th and 26th, the River City Writers' Series welcomed nonfiction author Bob Cowser for a reading and an interview. Bob Cower's most recent book Green Fields: Crime, Punishment, and a Boyhood Between won "Best Memoir 2010" from the Adironack Center for Writers, and an excerpt was cited in the Best American Essays 2012. His other works include Dream Season, Scorekeeping, and the edited collection Why We're Here: New York Essayists on Living Upstate. Cowser is a Professor of English at St. Lawrence University, where he teaches courses in nonfiction writing and American literature and was named the 2012 Owen D. Young Outstanding Faculty Member.

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Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor Reading- October 24th, 2017

On October 24th, poet and scholar Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor gave a reading from her new book Imperfect Tense as a part of the River City Writers Series. Melissa Cahnmann-Taylor is a Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Imperfect Tense (2016) and co-author of three books on education. She has received NEA "Big Read" Grants, the Beckman Award for "Professors who Inspire Social Change," and a Fulbright for a nine-month study of adult Spanish language acquisition in Oaxaca, Mexico. She is the poetry editor for Anthropology & Humanism.

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Fourth Annual Shaheen Symposium: Conversations Across Concentration- October 26th, 2017

October 26th, the English Department hosted the Fourth Annual Shaheen Symposium: Conversations Across Concentrations. This symposium featured Professors Kathy Lou Schultz, Lyn Wright, Marcus Wicker, and, Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor (visiting from the University of Georgia). These professors discussed representative poems by Lucille Clifton ("4/30/92 for Rodney King"), Carolyn Rodgers ("How I Got OVAH"), and Pauli Murray ("Prophecy"). This discussion placed an emphasis on how they would go about teaching and contextualizing these works from their own disciplinary or methodological perspectives.

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Dr. Yolanda Pierce Presented by Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities and The Department of English- November 2nd, 2017

Dr. Yolanda Pierce's talk was entitled, "I Have Shaken Rivers Out of My Eyes: Black Poetry and Prophetic Rage". Dr. Pierce's most recent book Hell Without Fires: Slavery, Christianity, and the African-American Spiritual Narrative and forthcoming book Religious Ecstasy and African-American Cultural Expression focus on the historical and contemporary significance of the African-American religious tradition.

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Spring 2017

Sarai Walker Q&A Session- January 25th, 2017

Visiting Professor and fiction/non-fiction author Sarai Walker gave a reading, Q&A session, and book signing of her novel Dietland on January 25th, 2017.

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Caitlin Horrocks Interview and Reading- February 28th and March 1st, 2017

On February 28th and March 1st, the River City Writers Series presented a reading and interview by Caitlin Horrocks. Horrocks is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editor Choice, as well as Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selected short story collection This is Not Your City.

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Women in Words: An Invitational Student Reading- March 16th, 2017

In celebration of Women's History Month, undergraduate and graduate students read their creative works at Women in Words: An Invitational Student Reading on March 16th. Featured student readers include: Briana Brakhage, Madison Cardinez, Devan DelConte, Marisa Manuel, Jeanna Paden, Kendra Vanderlip, and Christine Wunrow. MFA student Amanda Muir served as Master of Ceremonies.

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Shara McCallum Reading and Interview- March 30th and 31st, 2017

On March 30th and 31st, The River City Writers Series presented a reading and interview with Shara McCallum, a Jamaican-born and award-winning poet and essayist. Shara's books of poetry include Madwoman, The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems, This Strange Land, Song of Thieves, and The Water Between Us.

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Baldwin Now Symposium- March 30th, 2017

In conjunction with Rhodes College, The Department of English presented the Baldwin Now Symposium on March 30th. The roundtable discussion was led by acclaimed Baldwin scholars Quentin Miller, Soyica Colbert, and Magdalena Zaborowska.

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Explosive Topics: Teaching Race in Literature Workshop- April 29th, 2017

On Saturday, April 29th, the African-American Literature concentration invited Shelby County elementary, middle, and high school teachers to a teaching workshop called Explosive Topics: Teaching Race in Literature. The workshop was led by African-American Literature faculty members and graduate students.

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Fall 2016

Seventh Annual Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture- October 20th, 2016

The U of M English Department was pleased to welcome Professor William J. Maxwell of Washington University in St. Louis to deliver the Seventh Annual Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture on October 20th, 2016. Professor Maxwell's talk was entitled "Born-Again, Seen-Again James Baldwin: State Surveillance, Afro-Pessimism, and the Literary History of Black Lives Matter". The lecture series also included a symposium on the topic of "reading resistance", featuring readings by graduate students, professors, and instructors on October 14th. Learn more about the Shaheen Lecture Series and Symposium.

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David Kirby Reading- October 21st and 22nd, 2016

Get Up PleaseThanks to generous funding and support from SEA, the English Department, and the Lambuth Foundation, River City Writers Series welcomed poet David Kirby for two readings on October 21st and 22nd. David Kirby's collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Kirby's honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. his latest poetry collection is called, Get Up, Please.

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English Undergraduate Orientation- September 2016

Students gathered in Patterson Hall to learn about all that the English Department has to offer at the English Undergraduate Orientation in September of 2016.

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Discover Your Major Day 2016

The Department of English won third place at Discover Your Major Day for its carnival-themed booth! Congratulations to Dale Williams and thanks to all of our volunteers. Photos courtesy of Curt Hart. See more of the fun in this slideshow!

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Spring 2016

Rediscovering Harry Potter: Sources, Landscapes, and Legacies- May 9-19th, 2016

On May 9-19th, 2016 thirty-three students and three English faculty members (Cathy Dice, Tammy Jones, and Susan Popham) from the University of Memphis Honors Program traveled to London and Edinburgh for the study abroad course, Rediscovering Harry Potter: Sources, Landscapes, and Legacies. Visit the English Department Study Abroad page to learn more.

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Women's History Month Reading: Women in Words- March 2016

Ladies Night in DreamlandAs part of Women's History Month in March, the English Department sponsored Women in Words, a reading, panel discussion, and reception. This event showcased the writings of women from the English Department. Creative Writing faculty member Sonja Livingston read from her book, Ladies Night in Dreamland. Flash readings were presented by students Breanne Haer, Devin Lyle, Nikki McQuire, Kat Moore, and Amanda Muir. A panel discussion on publishing featured Sonja Livingston, Brandy Wilson, and Kat Moore. The event was moderated by Ashley Roach.

Women in Words

Nickole Brown Reading and Craft Talk- February 17th, 2016

On Wednesday, February 17th, the River City Writers Series welcomed author Nickole Brown for a reading and craft talk. Brown's works include Fanny Says, an "unleashed love song" to her late grandmother, her debut novel in poems Sister, and Air Fare (co-edited with Judith Taylor).

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Annual WordSmith Writing Olympics- February 29th, 2016

On February 29th, University of Memphis instructors Cathy Dice and Tammy Jones held the annual WordSmith Writing Olympics, a writing competition for Memphis-area middle and high school students. Learn more about WordSmith here. 2016's WordSmith competition included a children's book drive to benefit Porter-Leath, which helps promote literacy and health for underprivileged families in the Memphis community.

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Advertising, Amusement, and the Arts of Persuasion in Eighteenth-Century London Newspapers- March 2nd, 2016

On March 2nd, University of Memphis English Department professor Dr. Darryl Domingo presented "Advertising, Amusement, and the Arts of Persuasion in Eighteenth-Century London Newspapers." This discussion was a part of the Marcus W. Orr Center for Humanities Brown Bag Series, which allows faculty to present and get feedback on current research.

Domingo Brown Bag

Fall 2015

Dr. Alexis De Veaux Reading- September 29th, 2015

On September 29th, The English Department hosted Alexis De Veaux, who gave a talk and a reading from her novel Yabo.

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Discover Your Major Day 2015

English Department advisor Dale Williams created a mesmerizing display for Discover Your Major Day on October 1st! The English Department won Honorable Mention for their fortune teller-themed display.

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