in this issue


 News & Events

 Awards Day Recap


 Undergrad Conference
 Big Night for Fowler

 Toto Pulls Curtain on . . .


 Eclectic Awarded
 Kickball Challenge

 Faculty & Staff News

 New Professor Profiles


 "Alien Life" Wins Prize


 A&S Names Outstanding

 Alumni News

 Job Spotlight
 Lewis Gets Fellowship

 Course Descriptions


New Assistant Professors Join Department

Three new assistant professorsDrs. Patrick Erben, Meg Pearson, and Josh Masters—recently joined our faculty. Masters previously worked in our department as a visiting assistant professor. Here is more insight into each of their backgrounds and interests.

Patrick M. Erben grew up in Germany, and he received an M.A. in American Literature and Culture from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. He first came to the U.S. as an exchange student at Georgia State University, where he met his wife, Rebecca. During his Ph.D. program at Emory University, Patrick specialized in early American literature, with a particular focus on the culture and writings of German immigrants. After completing his Ph.D., he was appointed 2004-2006 NEH/Institute Fellow at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia. While also teaching courses as a visiting assistant professor at William and Mary, Patrick spent his fellowship working his dissertation into a book manuscript. In the classroom, he is particularly eager to explore the multilingual and multiethnic origins of American literature. Patrick recently moved to Carrollton with his wife, his children Samuel (3) and Ruby (4 months), and his dog Willow.

Meg Pearson was raised in south Georgia and attended the University of Georgia (graduating summa cum laude) before moving to Washington, D.C. to work at the Smithsonian Institution. Missing the library after several years of media relations work, she began applying to graduate programs in English and enrolled at the University of Maryland to study Renaissance drama. While there, Meg was lauded for both her teaching and research. She received the James Robinson Award for the teaching of literature and was awarded the university's Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation, Spectacle in Early Modern English Drama. Her research interests include Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama, early modern cultural history, early modern theater history, medieval drama, and performance history. She is an avid theater-goer and traveler.


Josh Masters grew up in the posh North Shore suburbs of Chicago, attended high school in a northern Colorado cow-town, did his undergraduate work in southern California’s Inland Empire, and completed his Ph.D. in rural Connecticut while living in a rustbelt mill town. He now lives in an old Southern house on Rome Street with his wife, Margaret, their four cats, and a 10 year-old goldfish named Pearl. When he’s not biking with his friend Chad, playing tennis with old men from Villa Rica, hanging out on the porch with his wife, or sitting in front of his chiminea with friends on a cool fall evening, Josh enjoys talking about American literature with his students and writing about the American West. In the past year, his articles have appeared in Arizona Quarterly and American Studies, and he once published something on Tom Wolfe that appeared in a book edited by Harold Bloom, so clearly he’s not too picky. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a manuscript that examines the symbol of the book and the representation of the American West, and he continues to work on his two-handed backhand.

English Student Wins Big Night

English major Phillip Fowler was named the 2006 Big Night Humanities winner for his research project titled "Why Are You Wearing That Stupid Man Suit?: A Genre Study of Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko." Fowler is pictured with his project advisor, Dr. Barbara Brickman.

Umminger Awarded for “Alien Life”

Dr. Alison Umminger won the Lawrence Foundation Prize from Prairie Schooner for her short story“Alien Life.” The Lawrence Foundation is a charitable trust located in New York City, providing, among other endowments, a monetary prize for the best work of fiction published annually in Prairie Schooner. Prairie Schooner, a national literary quarterly supported by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Press, has been publishing notable works of fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews for nearly 80 years.

“Clearly, I am elated with this award,” commented Umminger. “The publication of this story, as the process is for most publications, is a matter of persistence. I probably sent this story out to 30 places, and to much lesser magazines than Prairie Schooner, before it was accepted. Then, there was a two-year lag time between the story’s acceptance and its publication. The story was written in 1998 or 1999, so that gives you a sense of how truly glacial publishing can be.”

The first chapter and title of Umminger’s forthcoming novel, Alien Life, tells the story of a 13-year-old girl trying to make sense of the malevolence she feels in the world after discovering her brother has been molested by his soccer coach. Umminger also plans to include the story in a forthcoming collection of her short fiction.

—Nick McRae