Graduate Spotlight

Dissertation Honor for Joseph Darda

Joseph Darda’s dissertation, “When Is Postwar? American Narratives in an Age of Permanent War,” has been selected as UConn’s nomination in the Arts and Humanities division of the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. His dissertation was selected as the sole UConn representative of all 2013–15 dissertations in the arts and humanities and will now enter the national competition in the same division.

Amber West’s Poems

Congratulations to Amber West (PhD ’14), whose first book of poems, Daughter Eraser, will be released this year by Finishing Line Press.

Yusef Komunyakaa writes that “Amber West’s Daughter Eraser surprises relentlessly, moving gracefully from heartbreak to humor. This poet delivers a playful theater of language, innuendo, and wit while teaching us how to assay the iron within irony. We can be thankful this new voice springs out of need and mercy.”

The collection features poems many of us enjoyed hearing Amber read while she was here in the PhD program, and her press is taking pre-orders now.

Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

Authors Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald made two public appearances on the Storrs campus on Tuesday, February 17.

Publishing Scams—Doyle and Macdonald spoke about publishing scams and how writers fall prey to them.  Macdonald’s efforts to expose publishing scammers have been profiled in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere and he is widely known as an expert on the subject.

Reading and book signing—Doyle and Macdonald read from recent work and discussed how they became writers and the process of collaborating on fiction.

Debra Doyle, author or co-author of more than thirty books, teaches at Viable Paradise.  Her doctorate in English from the University of Pennsylvania specialized in Anglo-Saxon literature.

James D. Macdonald’s more than thirty books range from space opera and military science fiction to (pseudonymously) military thrillers and an annotated book of sea chanties.  A former Navy officer, he lives in New Hampshire with his wife and frequent co-author, Debra Doyle.

For more information contact Leigh Grossman at (860) 208-4829 or


Alternative Careers Panel–Friday, Feb. 6

The Graduate Placement Committee and the EGSA Professional Development Committee will host a panel for graduate students on alternative academic careers this Friday, February 6th, from 1-3pm in the Stern Lounge. The panel will feature three recent UConn English alums who have taken up successful and fulfilling careers outside the traditional academic route.  It is intended for graduate students who are considering alternatives to academe.  The panelists are: Emily Wojcik, Managing Editor, The Massachusetts Review (Amherst, MA) Amber West, Senior Grant Writer, Girls Write Now (New York, NY) Sarah McIntyre, English Faculty, Horace Mann School (New York, NY) The panelists will address what drew them to these careers, what they would recommend to scholars envisioning alternative careers, how they have used their Ph.D.s, their biggest challenges and rewards, and their continuing participation in academe.  They will be joined later by Kay Gruder, Career Consultant for the Graduate School, who will outline the services offered by the Graduate School for graduate students considering alternative career paths.