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Department News & Events

Rita Felski wins Niels Bohr Professorship
Friday, May 27, 2016

Rita Felski, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and editor of New Literary History, has been awarded a Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation. Felski is one of seven international scholars and researchers to receive the professorship, and the only recipient in the humanities. Under the terms of Felski’s professorship, she will spend her fall semesters at the University of Southern Denmark over the next five academic years. The professorship comes with a grant amounting to approximately $4.2 million in support, which will allow Felski to organize international conferences and advance her research while directing a team of professors and post-doctoral researchers at the University of Southern Denmark.

Read more about the grant and Felski’s work at UVA Today.

Creative Writing students benefit from Caryl Phillips residency
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

UVA Today spoke to graduate and undergradute creative writers who had the opportunity to learn from acclaimed writer Caryl Phillips during his stay on grounds for the Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence program. Phillips led a master class for graduate and undergraduate students and held one-on-one consultations with M.F.A. and undergraduate prose writers. Read the full article here: "UVA Students Find Widsom, Motivation in Acclaimed Writer's Visit."

Phillips will give a lecture about James Baldwin on Thursday, April 21, at 5 p.m., in the auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Caryl Phillips, Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, on Grounds April 11-22
Sunday, April 3, 2016

The English Department will welcome Caryl Phillips, the 2016 Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, to Grounds April 11 to 22. He will deliver a reading, lecture, and masterclass, as well as holding one-on-one conferences with select undergraduate and graduate students. His reading will take place April 14 at 5:00 PM, in the Special Collections Auditorium, followed by a reception. The lecture will be April 21 at 5:00 PM, also in the Special Collections Auditorium.

Caryl Phillips was born in St.Kitts and came to Britain at four months. He grew up in Leeds and studied English Literature at Oxford University.

He began writing for the theatre, and his plays include Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). He won the BBC Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play of the year with The Wasted Years (1984). He has written many dramas and documentaries for radio and television, including, in 1996, the three-hour film of his own novel The Final Passage. He wrote the screenplay for the film Playing Away (1986), and his screenplay for the Merchant Ivory adaptation of V.S. Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur (2001) won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata film festival in Argentina.

His novels are The Final Passage (1985), A State of Independence (1986), Higher Ground (1989), Cambridge (1991), Crossing the River (1993), The Nature of Blood (1997), A Distant Shore (2003), Dancing in the Dark (2005), Foreigners (2007), In the Falling Snow (2009), and The Lost Child (2015). His nonfiction: The European Tribe (1987), The Atlantic Sound (2000), A New World Order (2001), and Colour Me English (2011). He is the editor of two anthologies: Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging (1997) and The Right Set: An Anthology of Writing on Tennis (1999). His work has been translated into over a dozen languages.

Phillips was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 1992 and was on the 1993 Granta list of Best of Young British Writers. His literary awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a British Council Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and Britain’s oldest literary award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, for Crossing the River, which was also shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize. A Distant Shore was longlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize and won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize; Dancing in the Dark won the 2006 PEN/Open Book Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of the Arts and a recipient of the 2013 Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Award for Excellence.

He has taught at universities in Ghana, Sweden, Singapore, Barbados, India, and the United States and in 1999 was the University of the West Indies Humanities Scholar of the Year. In 2002-3 he was a Fellow at the Centre for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Formerly Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Columbia University, Phillips is presently Professor of English at Yale University. He is an Honorary Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford University.

Paul Muldoon to deliver GESA conference keynote April 16
Friday, March 25, 2016

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will deliver a poetry reading with commentary entitled “Rising to the Rising: Poetry and Politics in Ireland” at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 in the Nau Hall Auditorium (Nau 101). Muldoon is the featured guest and keynote speaker for the “Terrible Beauty” conference hosted by UVA’s Graduate English Students Association. The conference marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and invites new takes on the relation of aesthetics to politics. Muldoon’s talk is free and open to the public.

The Howard G.B. Clark ’21 Professor at Princeton University, Muldoon has been dubbed “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War” by the Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of twelve major collections of poetry as well as works of criticism, opera libretti, books for children, song lyrics, and radio and television drama. From 1999 to 2004, Muldoon served as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Since 2007, he has been poetry editor for The New Yorker. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Muldoon has been awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, and the Shakespeare Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Muldoon’s most recent collection of poems, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing, was published by Faber in 2015.

More information about the “Terrible Beauty” conference, including a detailed schedule of events and information about panel presentations, can be found on the GESA website.

Interview with new Creative Writing Professor Jeffrey Allen
Friday, March 4, 2016

Jeffery Allen, the newest professor in the English Department's Creative Writing Program, talked to UVA Today about writing, teaching, and traveling.

Allen is the author of three works of fiction: the acclaimed 2014 novel Song of the Shank, nominated for the Dublin Literary Prize; the celebrated novel Rails Under My Back, which won the Chicago Tribune’s 2000 Heartland Prize for Fiction; and a short story collection, Holding Pattern. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Stellar Places and Harbors and Spirits, plus a range of essays and reviews. A recent recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Allen has an essay about the Black Lives Matter movement forthcoming in April in The Evergreen Review.

Read the full article on UVA Today.