Department of English News

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Visiting scholar Jing Yang focuses on martial arts cinema

Dr. Jing Yang





The ECU Department of English welcomes visiting scholar Jing Yang. Dr. Yang is associate professor in the department of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China.

Her research project is about martial arts cinema in the age of globalization, and she hopes to soon finish several papers on recent Chinese cinema’s strategies for commercialization. Dr. Yang will also be available for guest lectures on Chinese cinema.

2015 W. Keats Sparrow Award winners announced

The winners of the 2015 W. Keats Sparrow Award have been announced.

Drew Navarro earned first place honors with a work entitled “At the Crossroads of Empathy and Evidence in Modern Medicine.” The second place entry, “Alzheimer’s Care: Getting Better,” was written by Jenna Pate. Mia Andriana Leone placed third for “US Dollar Verse Chinese Yuan: A Global Currency Cat Fight.”

The award recognizes excellence in research and writing by students in East Carolina University’s English 1100 & 1200/2201 composition classes. The award is sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library and is named in honor of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, Professor Emeritus of English and Former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Also deserving recognition are the instructors of the English 1200 sections that produced the winners. Leanne Smith was Drew Navarro and Jenna Pate’s instructor, while Dr. Marianne Montgomery was Mia Andriana Leone’s instructor.

Learn more here:

Bauer named distinguished professor


Professor Margaret Bauer was recently named a Harriot College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor. A lecture in her honor is scheduled for 8 p.m., Sept. 24, in the Speight Auditorium of the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. This lecture features Art Director Dana Ezzell Gay of the North Carolina Literary Review (which Bauer edits) explaining the magic she performs in designing the content of each issue.

NCLR publishes new issue

NCLR cover


Interviews with Elaine Neil Orr and Monique Truong • An Essay on Randall Jarrell by James Applewhite • European Scholars Read Charles Chesnutt and Paul Green • An Essay on Historical Fiction by Philip Gerard • The Doris Betts Fiction Prize Story by Laura Herbst • The James Applewhite Prize Poem by Elizabeth W. Jackson • And more . . .

2014-15 Department Faculty Awards

The following awards were given at today’s faculty meeting:

Associate Professor Will Banks won the 2014-15 Bertie Fearing Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is given based on course planning, approaches to feedback/discussion, student evaluations, and self-reflection.

Associate Professor John Hoppenthaler and Professor Margaret Bauer shared the Research and Creative Activity Award. Hoppenthaler published a collection of poems entitled Domestic Garden, has been an active member of the literary community in North Carolina and beyond, gave 15 readings last year, and published 5 interviews with writers. Bauer published a monograph entitled A Study in Scarlet, put out a critical edition of Paul Green’s play the House of Connelly, an article, five refereed book chapters, and three conference presentations.

Teaching Instructor Timm Hackett and Associate Professor Amanda Klein were both honored for their service. Hackett’s distance education efforts are especially noteworthy; he also has provided individualized tutorials on programs like LiveScribe and OneNote. Klein has been deeply dedicated to undergraduate education, coordinates film studies minor, and has been a leader in establishing Concerned NC Educators.

In addition, Associate Professor Helena Feder won the First Year Faculty Advocate Award.





Voyages of Discovery lineup announced

The lineup for the 2015-16 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series has been announced.
“The Voyages lecture series affords us an opportunity for spotlighting the mission of Harriot College and the significant ways in which we assist ECU and serve the region by educating citizens as we create new knowledge,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Johnson, the lecture series’ director.
The series opens on Sept. 29, with the Premier Lecture featuring Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and director of the National Security Studies Program at the New American Foundation in Washington D.C.
On Oct. 27, Dr. Raymond Moody, emeritus professor of consciousness studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will discuss “Life After Life: The Meaning of Near Death Experiences.”
The spring will feature the Brewster History Forum on Jan. 26, 2016, and Zonnie Gorman, an expert on the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II on March 23, 2016.

Read the full story on the Voyages series released by Harriot College.

Student Harbison lands breaking news bylines

English department M.A. student Cammy Harbison has recently landed publications in Digital Times and in Newsweek.

Her Newsweek story discusses data security in the wake of the hack.

Her story in Digital Times was a breaking news piece about Seagate NAS vulnerabilities discovered by hacker OJ Reeves. This article made a notable impact in the security community.

“The researcher [Reeves] was nominated for a Pwnie Award at Black Hat this year,” Harbison said, “So I was happy to have helped raise awareness for his work.”

Harbison is working to complete a graduate certificate and M.A. with a concentration in technical and professional communication. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from ECU in 2007. Harbison is a prolific journalist on digital technology and related subjects.



Alumnus Spotlight: Brandon Sneed

Landing a book deal was the culmination of six years of hard work and passion for East Carolina English department alumnus Brandon Sneed.

“Getting a book deal with one of the Big 5 publishers has always been a dream,” said Sneed, who describes the project as “a crazy, fun, top-secret project for HarperCollins.”

However, this top-secret project is far from Sneed’s debut as an author. In fact, it’s just one of many projects he’s embarked on as a full-time author and freelance journalist.

“I grew up absolutely loving reading and always messed around with writing funky stories as a kid, and I still love trying to write great stories now,” he said.

Sneed was raised right here in Greenville. He graduated from Barton College in Wilson in 2009 and moved back to Greenville in 2011 to pursue his Master’s degree at ECU.

“I liked that I could finish it in a year and a half, and I thought their English department looked great. Plus, Greenville is home,” Sneed said. “I wanted a master’s so that I could teach college writing and literature classes—I very well may end up getting my Ph.D. at some point—and I focused on Nonfiction Creative Writing because I majored in journalism as an undergrad.”

Sneed earned his M.A. in English with a concentration in Nonfiction Creative Writing. He said some of his favorite parts of the program were spending time with professors who were as passionate about good writing as he is, and working with other students who were improving their writing–“that was all really fun and invigorating.”

Since his graduation, Sneed has been writing full time as well as teaching writing classes at area colleges. He’s also been publishing “longform, in-depth narrative journalism” for a variety of outlets, including CNN/Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine,, SB Nation, Pacific Standard, Outside, and more. His story, “The Prospect,” was named a Best American Sports Writing 2014 Notable Selection.

And besides all that, he’s also been writing books. Aside from his current project with HarperCollins, he’s written The Edge of Legend (2010) and Behind the Drive (2015). Sneed put these books out via a small publishing company that he created with his wife.

Sneed has a lot of work to be proud of, and he’s happy with the path he’s chosen.

“It’s taken tons of time, effort, and sacrifice, and my goal has always been to write stories that entertain and/or inform, sure, but also offer something that can make people’s lives better.”

“I believe in moving stories that explore the stunning things human beings are capable of.”

People wanting to learn more about Sneed’s work can visit his Facebook page, his Twitter feed, and his personal website at, where Sneed posts regular updates there about his work, hosts monthly book giveaways, and offers interviews and updates about other people doing remarkable things.

Congratulations to Meghan Bliss!

Little Universe cover

Congratulations to alumna Meghan Palko Bliss on the publication of her first book!

Bliss has had creative work published in Rust+Moth, Southern Women’s Review, A Poetry Congeries, What the Fiction, Charlotte Writers Anthology, and Mary Jane’s Farm, among others. She lives in Coastal North Carolina with her husband, Patrick, and writes at The Little Universe can be purchased here.