Author: Claire E. Reynolds

Moriarty Award for Sarah Bertekap

2020 Timothy F. Moriarty Award in Irish Literature goes to Sarah Bertekap.

The selection committee, comprising Mary Burke, Rachael Lynch, and Tom Shea, is pleased to announce that the winner of the 13th Annual Timothy F. Moriarty Award in Irish Literature is Sarah Bertekap.

The award this year is $1,500 to support continued professional development. Sarah’s most impressive accomplishments include seven conference papers delivered, archival research on Lady Gregory, Micheál MacLiammóir, and Hilton Edwards, as well as serving as an officer in An Cumann Gaelach, promoting the Irish language here at UConn.

With this award, Sarah hopes to travel to Dublin this summer to conduct further research in Ireland’s National Library and then travel to Gleann Cholm Cille, Donegal to participate in an immersive Gaeltacht program, Oideas Gael.

We extend our hearty congratulations to Sarah Bertekap.


Conference on Teaching of Writing

University of Connecticut, First-Year Writing
Fifteenth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing
April 17, 2020, UConn Hartford Campus

Making Your Writing Course Move
We invite conference proposals for the University of Connecticut First-Year Writing Program’s Conference on the Teaching of Writing, taking place Friday, April 17, 2020 on the UConn Hartford Campus. Proposal submissions are due February 2, 2020. Our theme this year is Making Your Writing Course Move , with keynote speaker Jenae Cohn of Stanford University; we invite proposals that engage this theme.

UConnFirst-Year Writing is at the end of a multi-year curriculum redesign based on recent research on multimodal composing, accessibility, and digital literacies. As our program and Rhet/Comp in general have experienced a digital
turn, we must also consider the ways digital writing still engages bodies and the role bodies, norms about embodiment, and bodily literacies have in composition in all modes.
Scholars such as Christina V. Cedillo and Robert McRuer have argued that composition courses tend to privilege certain kinds of movement in writing, a movement that also assumes whiteness, ablebodiness, and straightness or wholeness.

This conference asks in what ways instructors of writing can make space for diverse kinds of movement, or facilitate movement that may not always lead to wholeness or completion. Recent work in the field has also considered
how technologies may destabilize traditional or normative modes of composition. Jenae Cohn’s latest work, for example, explores the ways in which digital reading practices and the moves therein create opportunities for more inclusive perspectives of what reading for learning can look like. Her keynote talk will draw upon her forthcoming book, Skim, Dive, Surface: Strategies for Digital Reading in the College Classroom.

We have designed our First-Year Writing classes around five “ course moves ” that prioritize active learning and accessibility. Each move offers a way to think about what we do when we write.

We invite proposals of 250-300 words to consider questions such as:
● What does it mean to move in writing? What does this term afford, enhance, inspire,
entangle, and limit?
● How do we make space for diverse writing moves in our field, classes, or institutions?
How do students engage those moves?
● How is the embodied experience of writing shaped by fields, classes, or institutions?
● How do we see fields, classes, or institutions constructing movement based on race,
class, ability, gender, sexuality, or culture? How might we subvert, push back, or find
space for alternative movements and possibilities within these spaces?
● How does technological composition move ?
● What kinds of bodies get to move through/with technologies? (e.g., how do surveillance
technologies privilege or assume certain kinds of movement? How can we design
technologies for inclusion?)
● What kinds of expressions are possible through/with technologies?
We offer a variety of session types: panels, posters, and workshops, each with their own
affordances. Below, we’ve outlined examples of each, as well as what to expect. Please indicate
which session you will be engaging in your submission form and in your session description.
● Posters can focus on a specific activity or method you use in the classroom, or on a
specific aspect of your in-process research. They can be in digital, analog, and/or
interactive formats, and don’t need to be on a traditional “poster.” Poster presenters have
an opportunity to receive in-the-moment feedback from circulating audience members.
● Panels are ideal for a larger scale intervention; for example, extending recent work in
composition or drawing larger conclusions based in research or case studies. We
especially invite group proposals (at least 3 to 4 people) to submit as a panel. Individual
proposals will be grouped based on the topic.
● Interactive Workshops can engage participants in a classroom exercise, an
activity-based engagement with research or a theory, etc. Workshops should have at
least two presenters.
Apply at our conference website

Acclaimed Author Justin Torres Reading

Acclaimed fiction writer Justin Torres gave a public reading of his work on Tuesday, Oct. 8,  at 6pm at the UConn Bookstore in Storrs Center. 

Torres has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt and other publications, as well as nonfiction pieces in The Guardian and The Advocate. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he is the author of the novel We the Animals, which has been translated into fifteen languages and was recently adapted into a film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library. The National Book Foundation named him one of 2012’s 5 under 35. He is Assistant Professor of English at UCLA.

The Mark Twain Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program is sponsored by the Bloom Endowment Fund which was established by Lynn and Martin Bloom. Lynn Bloom is the former Aetna Chair of Writing and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in English and Martin is Professor Emeritus of Social Work at UConn. Their generous donation allows UConn’s Creative Writing Program to invite a nationally or internationally known prose author to campus for a residency every other fall semester. Each author gives a public reading, spends two or three days on campus offering tutorials for students, and shares meals with students and faculty. As a result of the Mark Twain Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program, UConn graduate and undergraduate students can participate in an intense hands-on learning experience with some of today’s most exciting authors.

Margaret Gibson, CT Poet Laureate

Prof. Emerita Margaret Gibson, our new poet laureate, was interviewed by Randall Beach in Connecticut Magazine on August 27, 2019.

Gibson says she wants to “green” the state poet laureate position, “to be able to give voice to the fact that what we’re doing to the planet is endangering it and us and our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives.”

She sees today’s poets as having a double mission. In addition to issuing that “prophetic warning,” they can write about “our relationship with the living world” and helping others “fall in love with it — for its necessary and wild beauty.”

Prize for Brian Sneeden

Brian Sneeden has been awarded the 2019 Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize for his translation of Phoebe Giannisi’s 2016 collection of poetry Ραψωδία (excerpt submitted under the general title Rhapsody).

Nikos Panou, Chair of the evaluating committee, writes, “Sneeden’s translation does justice to the original as it preserves key aspects of the Greek text while exhibiting ample vitality and creative vision of its own. His renditions are at the same time meticulous and lyrical, precise and elegant, powerful and subtle. To make this feel easy and effortless when it is clearly the result of a thoughtful and sustained engagement with Giannisi’s poetry is a prizeworthy achievement indeed.”

Well done, Brian!

Sean Forbes to Read at Inauguration

Our Director of Creative Writing, Sean Forbes, has been chosen to read two of his poems at the inauguration of UConn President Thomas Katsouleas on Friday, October 4. The poems, “An Oracle Remembering Providencia’s Formation” and “Isla Providencia,” are from Forbes’s book Providencia: A Book of Poems, published in 2013 by 2Leaf Press.


The inauguration will be in the Jorgensen, starting at 3pm.