Disseminating scholarship and artistic creation to broader publics is a crucial part of the UW English Department’s mission. Usually, English Matters might forward a hyperlink or two when our students and faculty appear in local or national press. But this spring we are proud and excited to make you aware of a half-dozen articles featuring the work and perspectives of our faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students. We thank Professors Richard Kenney, Francis McCue, and Michelle Liu, and our former and current students E.J. Koh, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, and Zoe Hana Mikuta for connecting the work of the humanities to wider publics. And, of course, we thank you, our fabulous alumni community, for clicking through and reading the articles, and, as always, for your continuing commitment to support UW English, which helps make this work possible.
Professor Richard Kenney featured in Poetry Northwest
“A world-class writer, Kenney is, perhaps above all else, a teacher, a guide. In this way, he embodies the literature that he’s fallen in love with. At its best, he’ll tell you, literature is a way to learn how to be. And in Kenney’s presence, that road map is laid out on the table, compass beside it.” READ MORE.
Professor Francis McCue on the Intersection of Poetry and Computer Code
Hugo House Co-Founder Francis McCue looks around the Seattle tech world and asks “who are all these tech people? What do they actually do?” A powerful essay, “Poetry vs. Programming: Wandering the City, a Writer Finds the Intersection of Literature and Code” from there unspools on geekwire.com. Choose the podcast link to hear the article read by the author!
Professor Michelle Liu highlighted in UW’s Perspectives Newsletter
Dr. Liu was featured for her participation in Books@Work, an organization that introduces literature into workplaces to encourage human connection and sharing of diverse perspectives. “Short Stories, Big Questions” starts:
“Despite teaching literature at the UW for nearly two decades, Michelle Liu was unsure what to expect when she assigned a Charles Johnson short story in 2019. Rather than her usual class of University undergraduates, the assignment was for Microsoft employees taking an hour from their busy schedules to discuss literature.” READ MORE.
Nancy Jooyoun Kim (MFA ’06) and E.J. Koh (MFA Columbia, UW PhD Candidate) interviewed in Perspectives
In her novel, The Last Story of Mina Lee, Nancy Jooyoun Kim tells the story of a single mother struggling to survive in Los Angeles’s Koreatown after immigrating from Korea, and her relationship with her American-born daughter. The novel was a Reese’s Book Club pick and a New York Times bestseller. Kim, an alumna of the UW Department of English (MFA, Creative Writing, 2006) spoke with Perspectives editor Nancy Joseph about the book. READ MORE.
And in her memoir The Magical Language of Others (2020), E. J. Koh explores the repercussions of her parents’ decision to return to Korea, leaving E. J. and her older brother in the US when she was 15 years old. Koh, a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Washington, spoke with Perspectives editor Nancy Joseph about the memoir. READ MORE.
English Undergrad Zoe Hana Mikuta Secures Two-Book Publishing Deal and Options Feature Film
In his 36 years of teaching, some of the best writing UW English Professor Shawn Wong has seen came out of English 302, his class on narrative storytelling. Still, he was taken aback by Zoe Hana Mikuta’s essay in winter 2019.
“I write about queer, half-white girls and I kill off their families for the drama of it all,” the essay read. “I make them fight robots, because it’s thrilling, and I make them fall in love to give them something to fight for.”
Mikuta, a sophomore at the time, had been unassuming in class. But, at just 19, she had already secured a two-book deal with MacMillan Publishers, one of the “Big Five” publishers of English-language books. READ MORE.
Seattle Met’s “A Big Seattle Reading List” Features 12 UW English Affiliated Writers
Of 60 books listed as must-reads on the subject of Seattle, a dozen are directly connected to the UW English Department. That’s right – we claim a full fifth of the best books on our beloved Emerald City. Authors include: Charles Cross, Sarah Galvin, Frank Herbert, EJ Koh, Stacey Levine, Jim Lynch, John Okada, Theodore Roethke, Kary Wayson, Jane Wong, Shawn Wong, and Kristen Millares Young. READ MORE.