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Department of English News and Events

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WSU English Department Newsletter

Our monthly newsletter, published online during the school year, celebrates the latest publications, acceptances, projects, presentations, awards, accolades, teaching highlights, activities, and more of English faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.

APRIL 2023

Publications, Exhibits, & Acceptances

faculty book covers

Leeann Hunter’s article “The Family Artist: Women’s Narratives of Self-Help and Self-Sacrifice in Victorian England” will be published this spring in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies.

Leeann Hunter also published a book review of Material Ambitions: Self-Help in Victorian Literature in Nineteenth-Century Contexts.

DJ Lee signed an advanced contract for her ninth book, a collection of lyric essays titled The Edge Is What We Have: Awe and Wonder in a Dimming World with Oregon State University Press, a premier venue for books on environmental and Indigenous studies in the American West, featuring authors such as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gretel Ehrlich, William Stafford, and Molly Gloss.

DJ Lee’s poem “Bitterroot” was accepted for publication in the anthology Migrations and Home to be published by NatureCulture summer 2023.

Ebb bookcover Grant MaierhoferKirk McAuley’s new book, The Ecology of British and American Empire Writing, 1704 – 1894, is forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press, “one of the leading university presses in the UK.” It will appear as part of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Atlantic Literatures and Cultures series (October 2023).

Grant Maierhofer’s new book Ebb was released from Kernpunkt Press, April 5, 2023.

Nishant Shahani’s essay “Global in Spirit: Deep Reading Transgenre” was published in QED: A Journal of GLBTQ WorldmakingVol 9: 2, pages 29-50.

Roger Whitson, with Alison Dushane, is co-editing a journal issue of Essays in Romanticism on “Bruno Latour and Romanticism,” celebrating the scholar’s recent passing.

Roger Whitson’s co-written chapter with Jason Whittaker “Composite Materialities and Decomposite Communities: William Blake and the Digital Humanities, 10 Years Later” was accepted for Kathryn Freeman’s collection A Companion to William Blake to be published by Routledge.

Roger Whitson’s “Review of Darren Wershler, Lori Emerson, and Jussi Parikka’s The Lab Book: Situated Practices in Media Studies” was accepted for publication by the journal Theory, Culture, and Society.

Roger Whitson’s chapter “William Blake and the Time-Criticality of the 1800s: A Media Archaeology of Milton: A Poem” was accepted for Andrew Stauffer’s collection Nineteenth-Century Literature in Transition: The 1800s to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops, Performances, & Presentations


Blood Orange Review tabled at the AWP Bookfair and offered special submission opportunities and limited-edition anniversary broadsides created in partnership with the WSU Fine Arts Department. The table staff included faculty editors Colin CrissGrant Maierhofer, and Lauren Westerfield, graduate student assistant editor Melanie Bell, and undergraduate scholarship recipients Mark Parsons and Lain Bundalian.

The David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities invites you to their third Public Lecture by Donna Campbell, Sara Brock, Sezin Zorlu, and Nazua Idris at the Neill Library on Tuesday, May 2, from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

a woman standing by a small framed art piece against a white wallDJ Lee collaborated with Common Area Maintenance, Black Earth Institute, and Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts to organize a multi-disciplinary Off-Site Reading, Reading Room, Book Signing, and Gallery Exhibit during the annual AWP conference in Seattle on March 9. Lee read poetry and her mixed-media art piece “Slime Redemption” was on display in the gallery. She also did a book signing of Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots at the Oregon State University Press table at the AWP Bookfair.

DJ Lee will present her work on social justice, environmental activism, and spirituality at ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment) + AESS (Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences) Conference, “Reclaiming the Commons,” in Portland, Oregon, July 9 – 12, 2023.

On March 31, Buddy Levy appeared on an episode of a HISTORY series hosted by William Shatner called The Unexplained. The episode I’m featured in is LOST CITIES, and Levy was an expert guest, talking about the historical search for El Dorado, based on his book River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana and the Deadly First Voyage Through the Amazon (Diversion Books, 2022).

On March 14, Buddy Levy appeared on the popular podcast Most Notorious to talk about his new book Empire of Ice and Stone (St. Martin’s Press, 2022). Here’s a link to the podcast.

Grant Maierhofer read at the Heavy Feather+Alternating Current+Kernpunkt Off-site event at AWP, Wednesday, March 8, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Underbelly, 119 1st Avenue South, Seattle, in Pioneer Square. He also read at the Reading Roulette Off-site event (Nightboat Books, Sublunary Editions) at AWP Friday, March 10, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Arundel Books, 322 1st Avenue, Seattle.

Kirk McAuley is scheduled to present new work on forest ecology and Gothic literature at the ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment) + AESS (Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences) Conference, “Reclaiming the Commons,” in Portland, Oregon, July 9 – 12, 2023.

Cameron McGill did a book signing on March 11, at the Western Colorado University booth at the AWP Bookfair.

A review of Nishant Shahani’s book Pink Revolutions: Globalization, Hindutva, and Queer Triangles in Contemporary India (2021) appears in the latest issue of EPW (Economic and Political Weekly).

Roger Whitson presented “Mary Somerville and the Living Force of Electromagnetism” at the 2023 conference of the North America Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) in Huntsville, TX.

three people at a book table at a conference


a man and a woman sitting in front of their books at a book fair



Teaching Highlights, Activities, & Innovations

Bryan Fry was hired last year as the Program Coordinator for the Port Townsend Writers Conference where he mentors emerging writers, assists Port Townsend authors, and coordinates lectures and workshops for the annual conference.

The EGO Book and Bake Sale was held on April 10 – 11 in the CUB. The funds were donated to the Cougar Food Pantry at WSU Pullman.

EGO Spring Colloquium was held on March 31. Organized by Christel Woods. The panel featured talks by Nouf Alqahtani and RJ Murphy.

On April 13, the English Club welcomed author Nina LaCour, sponsored by LandEscapes Literary Journal. National bestselling author Nina LaCour has written several critically acclaimed young adult novels, including We Are Okay and Watch Over Me, along with her most recent novel, Yerba Buena.

English Department Open Mic nights featured Jamie Flathers on March 9 and open readings on April 13. Open Mic is held in the Bundy Reading Room at 6:00 p.m. and all are welcome. Door Prizes include books and gift certificates to Brused Books in Pullman.

The inaugural Faculty Recognition Gathering was held on April 12. This casual gathering gave us a space to better understand the work of our colleagues and engage in dialogue with one another about the work we do every day.

The release of the 2023 edition of LandEscapes, WSU’s campus arts journal (Peter Chilson, faculty advisor), was held at 5 pm, Thursday, April 27 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The event was a celebration of the arts with the culmination of the staff’s hard work.

students reading at a literary event against a purple wall

Linguistics Club met on April 14 with advisor Michael Thomas. The club discussed: Remember the last time you were so excited to learn a new word that you just couldn’t wait to use it in a conversation? On April 21, the club talked about: It’s been said that “work is the curse of the drinking classes,” but is that what they really meant to say? While declaring his support for the former President, Rep. Steube proclaimed his endorsement for “Donald J. Chump.”  Was it a Spoonerism? A Freudian Slip? or is there a better way to understand how he managed to go there?

The 4th Annual Interdisciplinary Social Justice Conference was held on April 21 and 22. The theme was “The Native Sovereignty, Decolonization, Divestment, Reparations, and Environmental Justice: Constructing Coalitions at the Intersections.” Julian Ankney, Meagan Lobnitz, Chelsea Kopp, and Desiree Hellegers from the English Department were on the organizing committee.

WSU Visiting Writers Series, organized by Cameron McGill and Julian Ankney welcomed the following writers in March and April: Washington State poet laureate Rena Priest on March 9; and multi-media fiber artist, playwright, and poet Sarah Hennessey on March 28, and poet CMarie Fuhrman on April 5. See the VWS Website for more information.

Awards, Honors, Prizes, Fellowships, & Grants

Julian Ankney won the 2023 Common Reading Excellence Award for her outstanding contributions to the Common Reading Program’s use of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass as the 2022-2023 WSU Common Reading book.

Ashley Boyd received a 2023 Fellowship from the David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities for her project Palouse Reads. Along with her colleagues in English Education (Kate Watts, Jeff Jones, and Rachael Wolney), she also won a Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning grant.

Donna Campbell is the recipient of 2023 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award.

Elizabeth Forsythe received the Schleiner Award. Established in memory of Professor Louise Schleiner, the Schleiner Award ($100) goes to doctoral students who pass their Qualifying and Preliminary Examinations with distinction.

This spring The Blue Mountain Review will feature Bryan Fry’s work as an editor. The publication has also invited him to participate regularly in their adjacent NPR podcast.

Tomie Gowdy-Burke was awarded a LIFT Faculty Fellowship this Spring from the Office of the Vice Provost.

Thabiti Lewis and Joel Kemegue won the MLK Spirit Distinguished Service Advancement and Community Service Awards. Julian Ankney was also selected as one of the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service: Inclusive & Equitable Practices Award Honorees.

Lauren Westerfield is the recipient of the 2023 College of Arts and Sciences Early Career Achievement Award for Career Track Faculty.


The annual English Department Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, March 31. Awards included:

Emmett & Mary Avery Scholarship:  Nazua Idria

Kris A. Conde “For the Love of Literature” Scholarship:  Victoria Packwood

John W. Ehrstine Scholarship:  Emerald Henthorne

Bill and Alice Fitch Scholarship:  Brandon Osegueda, Kylie Welcome, Yesli PenaRodriguez, Levi Policarpio, Jose Altamirano, Fenn MacDonald

Basil and Ella A. Jereard Endowment:  Tannaz Moghaddas, Corita Fernando, Jacqueline Schroeder, Ande Farmer, Norah Dacy, Victoria Packwood, Stephen Short, Shana Huang, Emerald Henthorne

The Lord Memorial Scholarship:  Stephen Short

Anita and Richard McDonald Endowment:  Estella Sheldon, Tavia MorganGemma Delgado, Kylie Welcome, Bellana Bogar, Shaeleigh Leasure, Noah Bakker

April Seehafer Scholarship:  Shana Huang

Murray W. Bundy Scholarship:  Jaxon Burns and Jacob Garrett

Clarence-Clyda-Claryda Smith: Dunny Dudarov

Stanley P. Williams Scholarship: Victoria Packwood

Jennie Brown Rawlins CW Scholarship: Diane Geske

Sarah Weems:  Hannah Annonen and Hannah Te

Ruth Slonim Scholarship:  Danny Dudarov

Outstanding Senior, Pullman Campus:  Puneet Bsanti

Outstanding Senior, Tri-Cities Campus: Brigette Hinnant

Outstanding Senior, Vancouver Campus: Andrea Manske


Graduate Awards

Distinguished Teaching Award, M.A: Christina Gerard and Rashini Daluwatte

Distinguished Teaching Award, PhD: RJ Murphy

Outstanding Seminar Paper or Project PhD Level: Chelsea Kopp “Building Student Power & Global Solidarity in the Settler Institution: Teaching Helon Habila’s Oil on Water”

Outstanding Seminar Paper or Project M.A Level: Christina Gerard “Antoinette’s Many Deaths: Trauma and Mental Health in Wide Sargasso Sea”

Avon Murphy Scholarship: Justine Trinh

Fitch Summer Dissertation Fellowship: Elizabeth Salazar

Alexander Hammond Professional Achievement Award: Nazua Idris


EGO Awards

Most Creative Graduate Student: Christina Gerard

Most Collaborative Graduate Student: Nazua Idris

Ego Service Award: Nazua Idris

Community Builder Award: Christel Woods

Best Peer Mentor: Nazua Idris

Best Graduate Seminar: Anti-Oppressive Pedagogies Dr. Ashley Boyd

Most Supportive Faculty Members: Kate Watts and Wendy Olson


Faculty Awards 

Distinguished Service Award: Laura Kuhlman

Distinguished Teaching Award: Jamie Flathers


2023 Evening of Excellence and GPSA Awards hosted by the WSU Graduate School was held on April 10. Corita Fernando received the Graduate Teaching Assistant GPSA Excellence Award. Nouf Alqahtani received the Community Engagement GPSA Excellence Award. Nazua Idris received the Richard R. and Constance M. Albrecht Scholarship from the Graduate School. Christel Woods was recognized for receiving a Research Assistantship for Diverse Scholars Award.


Celebration Slide Show

photo credits: Kate Watts, David Martin, Dean Hare, Pavithra Narayanan, DJ Lee, Peter Chilson


Leisa McCormick, Advisor for the English Department and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies

Leisa McCormick and her husband Craig came to Pullman in 1987. Craig was pursuing a graduate degree in American Studies and they had just gotten married. Leisa completed her BA in English Literature at University of Idaho, worked as a Writing Center tutor, and then pursued her MA in Rhetoric there as well. She completed her Teaching Certification from WSU while working at Eclipse, the Pullman alternative school.

Leisa began working at WSU in 2008 at the Registrar’s Office and accepted the advising position in the English department in 2010.

Initially she advised for both English and DTC programs and she is currently advising for English and WGSS programs. She has around 300+ students advisees.

In retirement, Leisa is hoping to ride her bike around the Palouse and elsewhere, travel a bit, putz around her flowers and garden, visit children, grandchildren, and friends, and read a lot.

a woman wearing a flowered shirt standing in a classroomCarol Siegel, Professor, Vancouver

A Lawrentian, Victorianist, Culturalist, and Feminist scholar with formidable knowledge in gender and sexuality studies, Carol Siegel started her distinguished career at WSU Vancouver in Fall 1990, a year after the Vancouver campus was formally established. She was awarded early tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 1994. Six years later, she was promoted to full professor. Carol’s outstanding research record includes six monographs, eleven edited books or journal issues, thirty-five journal articles or book chapters, and her work as the co-founder and co-editor of Rhizomes, an interdisciplinary journal featuring experimental approaches to cultural studies. Her many contributions to WSU range from developing the Humanities and English programs and introducing Women’s, Cultural, and Asian American Studies courses at Vancouver, to helping build the American Studies program in Pullman. Honors awarded to Carol include Distinguished Professor, Woman of Distinction, Mentor of the Year, Buchanan Distinguished Professorship, and Outstanding Support for Graduate Students as well as Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Students.


Gratitude Leisa and Carol for your service to our community. We wish you all the best!


From the Chair’s Desk

Donna Potts Chair of English DepartmentApril has been an extraordinary month, with faculty and students receiving a range of awards for excellent work. After the department hosted its Scholarships and Awards Ceremony, DJ Lee and Roger Whitson organized a Faculty Recognition gathering at the Elson Floyd Center. This event gave us a well-deserved opportunity to talk about all that we do as a department, and make plans for collaborations in the coming year. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy breakfast in Bundy Reading Room on the morning of Commencement, May 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., when we’ll also present certificates to members of our revived chapter of the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. Many of us look forward to participating in conferences this summer. The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment will be held in Portland, Oregon, July 9-12, and we look forward to presenting papers and introducing our graduate students to the conference.