Department of English News

An Evening with Author Amy Stewart


As part of Earth Day 2015 events, the Department of English has helped to bring best-selling author Amy Stewart to campus. Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, Wicked Bugs, and Flower Confidential, will speak at 8 p.m. April 21 in C307 in the Science and Technology Building.

Stewart is a dynamic and engaging speaker whose books focus on the positive and negative impacts of the natural world on people. Her topics have relevance to scientists, gardeners, and cocktail-lovers everywhere. Books will be available to buy, and a reception and book signing will follow the talk.

This event is a signature North Carolina Science Festival event. Funding is provided by the North Carolina Science Festival, UNC System, and East Carolina University through the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, Chemistry Department, English Department, and Center for Sustainability: Tourism, Natural Resources, and the Built Environment.


The Annual ECU English Graduate Student Conference is taking place this Saturday, April 18th in Bate Building. The day begins with a meet-and-greet breakfast from 9-9:30 a.m. Graduate student presenters and presentations are as follows:

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – “Wrecking the Southern Design: Faulkner’s Destruction of Heteronormativity in Absalom, Absalom! by Justin Littlefield & A Textual Analysis of Donne’s Work by Danielle Lake

11:05 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. – “Cemetery Rhetoric: Interpreting the Legacy of East Carolina University Founders” by Rexford Rose, Ed Reges, Suzan Flanagan

1:05 p.m. -2:05 p.m. – “Once Upon a Time” by Abby Morris, Shane Combs, Kristi Wiley

2:10 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. – Creative Writing Panel by Tim Buchanan, Jazzy Cambra, Brianne Holmes

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. – “What Makes a Good Cover Design? Visual Representation and Intertextuality in Book Covers” by Janine Butler & “The American Settlement House Movement: At the Nexus of Isms” by Greg​ Orme


An interdisciplinary colloquium on Corliolanus will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. Several speakers from the Department of English will be featured:

  • Thomas Herron will discuss “Famine and Rebellion: Contemporary Political Contexts for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (c. 1608)” at 4:30 p.m.
  • Sean Morris will give a presentation entitled “Tragedy and Satire in Shakespeare’s Corliolanus” at 4:50 p.m.
  • Anna Froula will speak on “Ralph Fiennes’ film Coriolanus” at 5:10 p.m.


Coriolanus colloquium flier

Johnson presents NNEST award

Johnson, Burri, and Hansen-Thomas

Mark D. Johnson of East Carolina University (left) and Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University (right) presented Michael Burri of Wollongong University (center) with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-speaking teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. (Photo by Kyle Perler for TESOL International Association)

English department assistant professor Mark D. Johnson, along with Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University, presented Michael Burri with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-Speaking Teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. Each year, East Carolina University’s English department donates $250 to the recipient of the award.

This year’s recipient, Michael Burri, is a PhD student at Wollongong University in Australia. Burri’s paper, titled Exploring the Development of NNEST Cognition about Pronunciation Pedagogy, examined the changing beliefs of five non-native English-speaking teachers of English regarding pronunciation and how it is taught to learners of English as a second language. Burri presented this paper as part of his dissertation research.

EGSO Conference

On April 18th the English Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) will host its fifth annual conference! For the first time, this conference will be open to undergraduates as well. Attached below are a few more details. We hope you will come out to support our participating students and their work!


EGSO Haiku Death Match II

The first EGSO sponsored Haiku Death Match of the year took place last February and was visited with enough success to warrant offering a second match on the 17th of this month. If all goes according to plan, this event will take place the day before the EGSO Student Research Conference this year. EGSO still needs volunteers to participate as either judges or contestants.

Haiku Death Match 1a Haiku Death Match 1c Haiku Death Match 1b

If you’re interested in putting your haiku-writing skills to the test, rating your colleagues’ abilities, or simply watching contestants struggle to speed-write haikus on audience-selected topics, you won’t want to miss it. (There will even be a trophy for the winner!​) If you’d like to be a contestant or a judge, contact Danielle Lake at We hope to see you there.

Coriolanus! Interdisciplinary Colloquium… 4-27-2015

An interdisciplinary Colloquium in honor of the legendary figure, theatre performance* and Shakespeare’s 451st Birthday
Joyner Library Faulkner Gallery, 3-6pm Wed, April 22


Free and Open to the Public

3:00-3:10pm:  Welcome by HCAS Dean William Downs
3:10-3:40:  Kevin N. Moll (School of Music):  “Approaching Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture”
3:40-4:00:  Frank Romer (History Dept and Classics), “Coriolanus the Roman”
4:00-4:15:  Questions and Discussion
4:15-4:30:  BREAK with coffee
4:30-4:50:  Thomas Herron (English Dept), “Famine and Rebellion:  Contemporary Political Contexts for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (c. 1608)”
4:50-5:10:  Sean Morris (English Dept), “Tragedy and Satire in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus”
5:10-5:30:  Anna Froula (English Dept and Film), “Ralph Fiennes’ film Coriolanus”
5:30-6:00:  Questions and Discussion

Sponsors: ECU Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Classics, Film Studies and Great Books Programs; Sigma Tau Delta (English Dept); and the journal, Explorations in Renaissance Culture.  For more information:

* Shakespeare’s Coriolanus performed by ECU School of Theatre and Dance, McGinnis Theatre, April 23-28, 2015.  Director: John Shearin.  For more information:

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least forty-eight hours prior to the event at 252-328-6799 (voice) or 252-328-0899 (TTY).

Coriolanus colloquium flier

Events upcoming on missionary work


Ed and Catherine McGuckin will speak on “Thirty Years with the Gapapaiwa: Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea” from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Faulkner Gallery on Joyner Library’s second floor. In addition, students will have an opportunity for less formal interaction with the McGuckins at a brown-bag lunch, “So You Want to Be a Missionary?” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8 at the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

The Wellness Passport event on April 9 will include a reception and will focus on the McGuckins’ cooperative Bible translation with the Gapapaiwa people in Menapi village, Papua New Guinea.  The project enabled the translation of the New Testament into the previously unwritten Gapapaiwa language in 2009 and has resulted in bilingual education up to the third grade in the local schools (previously teaching English only).  The Gapapaiwa Translation Team is carrying on the Old Testament translation, with linguistic consultation during Catherine McGuckins roughly twice-yearly trips to Papua New Guinea and with computer transcription and other material assistance from Ed McGuckin in Texas.  The presentation will tell the McGuckins’ story, consider the cross-cultural adaptions of the translation effort, and present the effects of the translation on the language and the people group.  Attendees should RSVP Dawn Wainwright,

At the April 8 brown-bag lunch, sponsored by the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, the McGuckins will tell how and why they became Bible translators, answer student questions, and respond to the prepared question of whether missionaries are colonizers. The LWCC will supply drinks and chips. Attendees should RSVP to Melissa Haithcox-Dennis at

Sweeney video chat scheduled for next week


Feature film director, writer, producer and editor Mary Sweeney will speak via Skype from Los Angeles at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in Bate 2017. Space is limited, so those who want to attend should RSVP to Dr. Bob Siegel at

Sweeney enjoyed a longtime collaboration with David Lynch, beginning with Blue Velvet in 1986. She edited Twin Peaks Television (1990), Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me (1992), Hotel Room, HBO (1993), Lost Highway (1996), The Straight Story (2000) and Mulholland Drive (2001), which earned her a British Academy Award for Best Editing. Sweeney wrote the screenplay for The Straight Story, for which Richard Farnsworth received an Academy Award nomination.

Her producing credits date to 1995 with Nadja, directed by Michael Almereyda, and include Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire (2006), directed by Lynch, and Baraboo (2009), her directorial debut based on her original screenplay. Baraboo won a Best First Feature prize at the Galway Film Festival and the jury prize for Best Feature and Best Director at the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Sweeney is the Dino and Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, where she teaches screenwriting.

She is a long time Board member of Film Independent, sponsor of the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. She has a Master’s Degree in Cinema Studies from NYU, and actively serves the independent film making community in Los Angeles.