Department of English News

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Shelor wins O’Neal Award

The English department is proud to announce Rose Shelor as the winner of the Debbie O¹Neal Award for Outstanding Academic Achievements in Linguistics/TESOL.

The Linguistics faculty nominated Shelor, a Hispanic Studies major and a Linguistics minor, for the award. Professor Michael Aceto said she is a model student.

“She comes to each class meeting prepared,” he said. “She asks great questions and raises the level of the class discussion just by her presence. She produces quality written work.

“Rose comes to office hours to get further information as well as to discuss research paper topics.  In fact, since she took classes with me with graduate students in related course numbers, I found her work was often as good as any of the graduate students.

“Rose is a wonderful student.”


The award is named for Debbie O¹Neal, an instructor in the English Department, who died in a plane accident in 2013. She was passionate about linguistics and TESOL, working on many projects involving language variation and educating people on language. The memorial award is funded by Carolina TESOL in recognition of her contributions to the TESOL community. The amount of the award is generally $500. Students are nominated by instructors in the Department of English. Any graduate and undergraduate student with an interest in linguistics/TESOL is eligible but preference will be given to those students with a declared interest in linguistics/TESOL (such as an undergraduate student with a linguistics minor or a MA student with concentration in Linguistics or TESOL).

Dr. Andrea Kitta to Present Sept. 2016!

The selection commission of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) Working Group on Ethnology of Religion has accepted a paper by Dr. Andrea Kitta, associate professor in the East Carolina Department of English, for presentation at the prestigious conference “Alternative and Religious Healing in the Modern World.” The conference is 21-24 September 2016 in Amsterdam. SIEF is an international organization that facilitates and stimulates cooperation among scholars working within European Ethnology, Folklore Studies, Cultural Anthropology and adjoining fields.



The 2016 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review has been published:

This year’s issues of the award-winning North Carolina Literary Review celebrate twenty-five years of NCLR and writing in North Carolina. Opening this special issue is an interview with the editor, Margaret Bauer, who reflects on how NCLR has grown over the past quarter century and the importance of writing in North Carolina. Bauer remarks, “I haven’t actually counted but would not be surprised to find that North Carolina has more writers than any other state, and I know that many of the best writers in the country (in a variety of genres) have North Carolina connections. Of course, many of the writers here are not originally from here, and many North Carolina writers have not stayed here. But North Carolina continues to inspire those who have left to live and work elsewhere.” Bauer also announces in the introduction to the issue that, inspired by twenty-five years of success, NCLR has begun working with the ECU Foundation on a capital campaign with the goal of raising a two million dollar endowment that would ensure the next twenty-five years of publication.

Stories and books reviewed in the 2016 online issue showcase the talent of North Carolina writers and their commitment to their craft. Joanne Joy, in her review of Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers, edited by Marianne Gingher, explains how North Carolina influences and inspires writers. Unique in this issue is Dr. Brian Glover’s essay on how he uses NCLR in his short story class at ECU to encourage students to apply their newfound analytical skills to new stories of their own choosing, and to share their readings of these stories, many from NCLR, with their classmates. He writes, “Above all . . . students have responded to plots about family. Of all the stories NCLR has published in recent years, Leah Hampton’s ‘The Saint’ [a Doris Betts Fiction Prize winner from the 2013 issue] with its intricate mechanisms of time, memory, and bereavement, has raised more enthusiasm than any other.” He also notes how the characters in these stories with military experience resonate with students as well, given that “a significant portion [of his students] are either children and spouses of servicemen and women or active and retired soldiers, . . . [and many] have grown up in communities closely tied to the region’s bases.” The editor says she hopes Glover’s essay will inspire other teachers to consider how NCLR might be used in their classrooms.

The online issue is independent but complementary of the forthcoming print issue. For example, the 2016 online issue includes a short excerpt from James W. Clark’s interview with William S. Price, Jr., brother of the late Reynolds Price, beloved author of numerous books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction; the print issue will contain another and lengthier excerpt of the interview. Kathryn Etters Lovatt’s short story, published in the online issue, received second place in the 2015 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition; the winning story by Brad Field will be published in the print issue. Similarly, several finalists in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition appear in this online issue. The first, second, and third-place poems, and more finalists will be published in the print issue.

NCLR has won numerous awards since it was first published in 1992, most recently, the 2014 Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, which recognized NCLR for expanding to publication of online issues. These open-access issues provide the opportunity to reach a broader audience, enabling the publication to acquaint even more people with North Carolina’s rich literary history, while raising awareness for and interest in the print issue. In addition, the writers and artists can promote their work in NCLR Online by linking to the journal from their websites and social media pages.

NCLR is published at East Carolina University, with additional support from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. NCLR Online 2016 is a winter supplement to the annual print issue, which is published in the summer. NCLR Online maintains the same beautiful design as the print edition, created by the journal’s art director, Dana Ezzell Gay, a faculty member of Meredith College in Raleigh. To read NCLR Online and subscribe to the print issue, go to

Sixth Annual English Graduate Student Conference


Mark your calendars! The Sixth Annual English Graduate student conference is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, beginning at 9:00 a.m. We hope you will consider attending all or part of the conference to support the graduate students who are presenting. Within the next week, we will also be seeking faculty members willing to introduce conference panels.

Thank you for your instruction and for your support for the English graduate students! If you have questions about the conference, contact Justin Littlefield, EGSO president, at, ​or Brianne Holmes, EGSO vice president, at

The Ethnic Studies Film Series, Spring 2016

All the screenings are free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.
The Ethnic Studies Film Series, Spring 2016
Co-sponsored by the English Department and the Voyages of Discovery Lectures
Both screenings are approved for the Wellness Passport Program.

Windtalkers (Directed by John Woo)
Tuesday, March 22nd, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Sci-Tech Building 307
Guest Introduction: Bobby O’Daniel (Diné), USMC
Post-screening Discussion Planned
Co-sponsored by the Voyages of Discovery Series
Two U.S. Marines in WWII are assigned to protect Navajo Marines who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.

Listopad (Directed by Gary Griffin)
Tuesday, April 19th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Sci-Tech Building 307
Guest introduction: Dr. Lida Cope
Post-screening Q & A with Producer Jeffrey Brown via teleconferencing
LISTOPAD is a tale about the adventures of three teenage boys who become swept up in the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of 1989 in the former Czechoslovakia.

Leanne E. Smith’s Floating Dancer: Robert Dotson, the Walking Step, and the Green Grass Cloggers.

If you have about 22 minutes to spend on YouTube, and would like to listen to a 91-year-old dancer talk…My latest narrative project is a mini-documentary (my first one!) called Floating Dancer: Robert Dotson, the Walking Step, and the Green Grass Cloggers.  Here’s the link:

I met Robert several years ago through my folklife research and activities and continued to visit him and collect snippets of him talking where he lived in Sugar Grove, NC, until shortly before he died in early 2015. 

In the last couple of months, I collaborated with a fellow member of the Green Grass Cloggers–recent ECU biology PhD graduate M. Chad Smith–who is more experienced at working with the editing software than I am.  And this film is what we came up with.

Vaughan wins Christman Scholarship

VaughnThe English department is proud to announce Paige Vaughan as the winner of the Russell Christman Memorial Scholarship in English.

Associate Professor Marianne Montgomery said that the Christman scholarship rewards academic success but also spirit and extra-curricular involvement.

“I nominated Paige because of her energetic participation in English Club,” Dr. Montgomery said. “From the day she arrived on campus, Paige has been a regular at English Club, and this year she serves as the club’s president. In her leadership role, she plans meetings, invites guest speakers, and welcomes students into the club. She is also heavily involved in German Club. Overall, Paige is an English major who is learning and growing as a person both within and beyond the classroom, and is a most deserving recipient of the Christman award.”

Vaughan said receiving the Christman scholarship has helped her to see her potential as a student here at ECU.

“I am thankful to have professors and peers who recognize my hard work and capabilities, even when it is not always clear to me,” she said. “I will strive to continue staying involved in campus activities and improving myself intellectually.”


This scholarship is named for Russell Christman, an English Department instructor who was killed in a car accident in 1976. The scholarship was established by his parents, and is given to the junior English major who most typifies Russ’ spirit: vivacious, caring, energetic, and involved in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Academic merit is a factor in choosing the recipient, but character is given greater weight. The amount of the award is generally $500. Students are nominated by instructors in the English Department, and a recipient is selected in the spring semester for the following academic year. Eligible applicants must have completed 36 hours at ECU by the end of the fall semester. The application process for nominees includes: 1) cover letter from the nominee; 2) a completed scholarship application form (available in the English Department office); 3) a resume; 4) an interview with the Student Services and Scholarships Committee.

2015-16 ECU Scholar-Teacher Award!!!

Congratulations to associate professors of English William Banks and Andrea Kitta, who have received a 2015-16 ECU Scholar-Teacher Award. The Award recognizes outstanding faculty members who integrate scholarship and teaching. The 2015-16 ECU Scholar-Teacher Awards and Symposium will be held from noon – 4 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the ECU Heart Institute. Banks and Kitta will present posters at 2:10 and 2:30 p.m., respectively, in the Auditorium. Faculty, staff, students and community friends are encouraged to attend all or parts of the afternoon symposium and to enjoy a wonderful celebration of scholarship and teaching at ECU.

McKeever wins Moore Scholarship

The English department is proud to announce Sarah McKeever as the winner of the Charles and Patricia Moore Scholarship in English.

“Sarah is someone who embodies the intellectual curiosity, coupled with the intellectual humility, that is that hallmark of an excellent student,” said Professor Jeffrey Johnson, who works with McKeever on the John Donne Variorium. “She also has the agility of mind to engage difficult problems with nuance and creativity.”

McKeever feels a special connection to this award.

“On my most current scholarship application I wrote that the Moore Scholarship has funded not only my financial bank but my spiritual one as well,” she said. “My best friend, Christopher Thomas Moore, passed away in 2007.  I saw the scholarship three years ago and applied for it because it was his last name.  I have felt each time that I have accepted the award as though my friend is still with me in this experience.  It helps me remember that though he’s gone, he is still my guardian angel.”

The Moore Scholarship awards in-state tuition and fees to one sophomore, junior, or senior English major who has both a demonstrated financial need and has a GPA of 3.0 or better. Applicants need not be in-state students, but must have completed 36 hours at ECU by the end of the fall semester. The amount of the award is generally $1,500. Students are notified about this scholarship opportunity, and a recipient is selected in the spring semester for the following academic year. The application process usually includes: 1) cover letter from the applicant; 2) a completed scholarship application form (available in the English Department office); 3) documentation of financial need (tax returns from the applicant and/or parents or guardians is usually sufficient); 4) an interview with the Student Services and Scholarships committee.