Tongue & Ink line-up announced

The students who are running the popular Tongue & Ink undergraduate writers’ conference have announced the schedule for this weekend’s event. For more information, check out the Euphemism website.  Registration is required, but it’s free for IWU students. 


3:00: Registration 

4:00-5:00: Keynote reading / Alex Shakar

5:15-6:30: Master class / Alex Shakar




8:30: Slam / Sean Patrick Conlon





9:00-10:15: Master class / Simone Muench

10:30-12:00: Sessions

1. Publication & Copyright /Todd Stocke, Valerie Connelly & Karen 


2. The Sound and Sampling of Music in Fiction / Ricardo Cortez Cruz 


3. Making Your Writing A Soul Journey / Judith Valente & Charles 


12:00-1:00: Lunch

1:00-2:30: Sessions

1. Microfiction / Amy Riddle (lab)

2. Dialogue / Lynn Devore

3. Life Writing in an Age of Hoaxes / Amy E. Robillard (lab)

2:40-4:10: Sessions

1. Fan Fiction – For the Love of Story / Hilary K. Justice (lab)

2. Songwriting / Natalia Zukerman

3. Grad School Session / Cathy Gilbert & Joanne Diaz


4:30-5:30: Keynote reading / Simone Muench


7:00: Tributaries / Euphemism co-release party & student reading

Seniors: Two days left to enter your best writing

Senior English majors have until 4pm THURSDAY, April 2, to turn in a portfolio of their best writing in order to be considered for the Nikki Kaye Pape President’s Club Award for Excellence in Writing.

Established in 1971 by Professor Max Pape, the award is given at Commencement to the graduating senior selected by the faculty of the English department for the best selection of writing prepared during the academic year. All forms of writing qualify, including critical essays, creative essays, fiction, poetry, journalism—anything produced this past academic year. There is no minimum or maximum, but judges will be looking for consistency as well as excellence in submitted genres, so be selective in what you submit.

The Delta critical journal is now available

The Delta, IWU’s undergraduate journal of literary criticism, is now available for the asking at the English House. The spring 2009 issue, co-edited by Kaelyn Riley and Teresa A. Sherman, contains six student essays:

“Putting the ‘Oh!’ in Othello: The Tragic Consequences of Iago’s Unnamable Desires,” by Emily Franzen

“Can Dan Schneider Save Poetry?” by Drew Barringer

“Reading into Conceptual Metaphor,” by Linda Martin

“The Construction of Intellectual Women in Victorian Society,” by Leann Stuber

“The Meaningful Balance of Being,” by Marie Huey

“Reality, Checked: The Impact of As You Like It‘s Aberrational Conclusion,” by Paul Morello

The Delta is a completely student-run publication of the English department, with Prof. Wes Chapman serving as faculty adviser and Kerry Devitt, Marie Huey, Ashley Jaconetti, and Heather Lindquist filling out the editorial board. Congratulations to all on a fine-looking issue.

New Gamma Upsilon members inducted

IWU’s Gamma Upsilon media honorary society inducted new members Sunday, March 29, at the Plath house. To be eligible, students have to have worked for one of the campus media for at least a year and made significant contributions, along with maintaining a high GPA.

Gamma Upsilon was founded at Culver-Stockton College in March 1923 as an honorary student publications fraternity. Its purpose was to cover the field of college student publications, stimulating interest in all phases of undergraduate literary work that found its way into print. Professor William E. Schultz, who founded the organization, founded this Illinois Alpha chapter as well. If his name sounds familiar, he’s the English professor who wrote the lyrics for “Alma Mater Wesleyan,” the school song that is sung at convocations and commencements. 

New initiates (l to r) James Podrasky, Nathan Butters, William Hanzel, Jessica Hinterlong, Katherine Lurquin, and Nicole Travis are pictured here. After they signed their name in the Illinois Alpha chapter book dating back to December 1935, they were encouraged to look at the signatures of former members, among them Bob Page (who went on to become publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times), children’s book author Jim Bennett,  former Argus advisor and ICPA co-founder Harvey Beutner, author Steve Vogel, IWU trustee George Vinyard, local artist Spencer Sauter, NPR correspondent and poet Carolyn Forché, and Sun-Times reporter Chris Fusco.

Congratulations to our new members!

Updike gone, but hardly forgotten

I had the pleasure of knowing John Updike since the time I wrote my dissertation on “The Painterly Aspects of John Updike’s Fiction” back in 1988. I spent time with him in Key West, where he accepted the Conch Republic Prize for Literature, and hosted him when he was at Illinois Wesleyan to help us celebrate the dedication of the Ames Library.

When he passed away on January 27, 2009, it had a profound effect on those of us who’ve spent a good portion of our lives on Updike scholarship. Some of us were in the process of campaigning to get him the Nobel Prize, which unfortunately was thwarted by his death. Now we’re forming the John Updike Society, which we’ll launch at the American Literature Association’s 20th Annual Conference this May 24 in Boston—appropriately, near where Updike spent most of his adult life. As with other single author societies, the goal will be to foster and promote Updike scholarship.  

Before Boston, however, I’ll join fellow Updike scholars James Schiff and Jack De Bellis at a “Remembering John Updike” tribute on April 5, which is being held at the library in Reading, Pennsylvania, where Updike spent his time as a youth. The program also features Joan Youngerman, one of Updike’s childhood friends, while another classmate, Mary Ann Moyer, has graciously agreed to take us around and show us places that were important to Updike in his youth. Recently I was also featured with James Schiff on The Spirit of Things, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio show hosted by Rachael Kohn. The program, “John Updike on God, Sex, and Witches,” was first broadcast on March 1 and is still accessible on The Spirit of Things website.  It reinforced to me that Updike wasn’t just a major American writer; he was an international literary treasure. This photo was taken in Key West, 1993, as Updike sat for a portrait painted by Edward Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson.

English alums to share real-world advice

The Hart Career Center will host an English Crystal Ball Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in the Myers Welcome Center Auditorium. On hand will be former English majors who are now in the “real world,” panelists who will explain how they used their English majors to land jobs. And of course they’ll also answer questions from current students, who can start networking pronto.

Featured will be Jim Stahly (’91, advertising analyst, State Farm Insurance), Joshua Shull (’02, CEO, JoshuaOneNine Marketing House), Laura Sahn (’04, merchandise planning manager for textiles, Crate & Barrel), Rachael Marusarz (’04, manager of grant writing/direct marketing, Aids Foundation of Chicago), Karin McDowell (’00, communications project manager, Country Financial), and Mary Hilbert (’04, English teacher, with a Master’s in writing and publishing).