English Dept GWU


As a humanities discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the GW English Department is especially interested in the artistic exploration of identity, community, cultural conflict and history. Our more than 30 faculty members challenge students to consider the historical, personal and political impacts that literature makes upon people and culture. Students and faculty frequently pu

Operating as usual


The New York Times calls Marie-Helene Bertino's BEAUTYLAND a "remarkable funny-sad novel" that brilliantly explores themes of gender, otherness, and coming of age. Please join us at this week's Jenny McKean Moore Reading to welcome Bertino to GW!

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 02/27/2024

GW English is delighted to host Just Care: A Different University, a talk on Asian American students, mental health, and networks of care for all on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm, Gelman Library, Churchill Room. Our speakers will be Mimi Khúc, James Kyung-Jin Lee, and erin Khuê Ninh. This talk is funded by the English Department's Wang Endowment.

www.nps.gov 02/25/2024

One of our friends and interviewees in our feature-length documentary film “Disposable Humanity”, Andreas Knitz, provided us with a beautiful description of the edible memorial he and his fellow artists and advocates recently held to commemorate the lives of those lost in WWII institutions during t4 due to the imposition of starvation diets in psychiatric institutions. One of the classes I’ve developed at my university is a course on the literature of the Hawaiian Renaissance (Art and culture of indigenous and coerced diasporic people on the islands since the 1970s). One of the readings I assign for this class is a book of collective memories about native Hawaiian and indentured Asian servants diagnosed with leprosy on the island archipelago. In order to end the spread of the disease the Board of Health imposed a deportation scheme in 1866 that dispossessed patients of their families and generational homes. Upon arriving on their exiled beach in Molokai that was fortified by natural boundaries (steep cliff face, no roads, an absence of nearby water, housing, doctors, and hospital) the exiles found themselves put on starvation rations that assured higher mortality rates. When the exiles complained that the BOH was intentionally trying to make them “perish through starvation,” the monarchical government did everything it could to avoid responsibility for its pursuit of death-dealing neglect. Nearly 8,000 native Hawaiian and Asian exploited laborers diagnosed with leprosy were deported to Molokai from 1866-1969 (nearly 20 years after the sulfur cure became widely available). Today the site at Kalaupapa Beach stands as a memorial cemetery as well as a living testimony to medical complicity in settler colonialist designs to dispossess indigenous people through the tools of education, medicine, private property bureaucracy, and intentional lethality. Despite this death-dealing abandonment those diagnosed with the disease built a church and created a bare bones caregiving alternative community that preserved the well-being of disabled peoples’ worlds. This neglected history offers an addition to those like Andreas seeking to tell the global narrative of the use of starvation diets and medical exile as part of state disability expendability efforts being traced and helping us to keep alive.



A reminder for junior majors in Creative Writing & English: the deadline to apply for the Honors Thesis in Creative Writing is Leap Day, February 29!

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 02/14/2024

Memorial plaque in honor of Daniel DeWispelare and other colleagues at GWU's Professors Gate.

Chaucer Here and Now: New exhibit at the Bodleian Library 02/12/2024

If you're in the UK, consider making a pilgrimage to Oxford (before the 28th of April) to see the multimedia exhibition "Chaucer Here and Now" at the Bodleian Library! You can also check out the associated book which includes a chapter by our own Jonathan Hsy on "Chaucerian Multilingualism, Past and Present." The essay showcases works by many of the scholars, translators, and storytellers in the ever-expanding Global Chaucers network.

Chaucer Here and Now: New exhibit at the Bodleian Library by Candace Barrington by Candace Barrington After the initial flurry of publicity announcing the Bodleian Library’s Chaucer: Here and Now exhibit, it seems fitting to remind those in and arou…

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 02/02/2024

A great crowd at this week’s Jenny McKean Moore reading with Edgar Kunz at GW Textile Museum. Thank you to everyone who attended, and to Sylvia Jones for a beautiful intro!


The George Washington University English Department mourns the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Associate Professor Daniel DeWispelare (1983-2024). We are devastated by this loss. Our heart goes out to Daniel and his memory, his family and friends, and to all of us in and beyond the GW English community. Daniel completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He was Visiting Assistant Professor at Bilkent University in Ankara, Türkiye, before joining us on the GW English faculty in the fall of 2012 to work in eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century British literature. In 2017, he published his book, Multilingual Subjects: On Standard English, Its Speakers, and Others in the Long Eighteenth Century. Daniel was brilliant, gentle, and kind, and he made a great impact on the lives of so many people—students, colleagues, folks in his everyday life. We’re thinking of you all in this time of grief. The English Department will hold a memorial for Daniel later this semester; that information will be posted here. We love you, Daniel.


Booklist calls Edgar Kunz's poetry collection, FIXER, "stunningly beautiful" and "unsparing, yet buoyant." Come hear Kunz read at the first Jenny McKean Moore reading of the spring semester on Thursday, February 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Textile Museum.

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 01/18/2024

The George Washington University English Department is pleased to announce a new scholarship to celebrate the legacy of Robert Ganz, Jr., poetry scholar and Professor Emeritus. He passed away last year at age 97. Holly H. Ganz, Robert N. Ganz, III and Claire M. Ganz—all of whom graduated from the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences—have chosen to honor their father through the establishment of The Bob Ganz Jr. Scholarship Fund. As an endowed fund, this scholarship will provide need-based support in perpetuity for undergraduate students majoring in English.


Kazu thanks everyone who stopped by the department's holiday party! Good luck with finals and have a wonderful break!!


The New York Times calls Melinda Moustakis’s writing “spare and exquisite, tough and lovely.” We’re thrilled to welcome back our former Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington to our reading series on 12/7 (via Zoom). RSVP link in comments.


GW English representing at the Mezipatra q***r film festival in Prague!


GW’s student-run literary magazine is now accepting submissions!


Our own Alexa Alice Joubin represented the English Dept GWU and the humanities on a faculty panel last week, which was part of the GW presidential inauguration events. She said that excellence in the humanities "means a respect for and understanding of words, especially in the era of artificial intelligence.” From left to right: Mary Ellsberg (Global Women's Institute); Alexa Alice Joubin (English); Provost Pamela Norris, Chet Sherwood (National Chimpanzee Brain Resource), and Ekundayo Sh*ttu (Systems Engineering). Link in the comment.


Another recent interview in Electric Literature by Professor Annie Liontas (see link in comments). Writer Melissa Broder will also be visiting Liontas’s Creative Nonfiction class later this month.


Professor Annie Liontas recently interviewed Alexandra Chang about her new story collection, TOMB SWEEPING, in . See link in comments.


The English Department is so excited to share this wonderful news. Congratulations to our very deserving colleague, Robert McRuer! 🎉 👏


Next up in November is a “Jenny 2” Reading featuring Carol Mitchell and Fred Pollack reading from their new books. Please join us! (RSVP link in comments.)

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 10/21/2023

Thanks to brilliant poet & essayist Tonee Moll for reading at Woven Words yesterday, and to all the students who shared their work during the open mic!

Also, check out the amazing 3rd floor installation at the Textile Museum while you can (through 12/22/23).

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 10/20/2023

A full house at the beautiful Textile Museum for the Jenny McKean Moore Reading Series, featuring Professor Thea Brown reading from her latest book, Loner Forensics.

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 10/16/2023

So much happening in October 🎃, including the first Woven Words reading & open mic of the semester, featuring writer Tonee Moll. Come join us and your friends at Capitol Letters on 10/20!


Please join us on Thursday, October 19, at 5:30 PM for a reading by poet and Visiting Professor of English, Thea Brown. RSVP link (with location details) provided in the first comment.

Photos from English Dept GWU's post 10/06/2023

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Julian Clement Chase Prize for Creative Writing in Washington, who were honored at a special ceremony this week.

📸 Here’s winner Amira Al Amin with keynote speaker Clarence Page

📸 Honorable Mention John Lawrence with Gordon Mantler, Director of the GW Writing Program

📸 And creative writing professor Lou Bayard introducing his former student, Amira.

Not pictured is Sasha Agarwal, who also received Honorable Mention.

The Julian Clement Chase Prize honors Sgt. Julian Clement Chase, a native of DC who knew and relished his city. His family established this prize to celebrate GW students who explore D.C. with the same intelligence and exuberance that he did. Other JCC Prizes recognize undergraduate research and community impact.

Student Project on Lost in the City - Department of English 10/06/2023

Creative writing students curated a project on Washington DC on Instagram.

Student Project on Lost in the City - Department of English Based on Edward P. Jones' stories, creative writing students curated a virtual Instagram tour of Washington DC as the city was in the 1950s and the city today.

Jon Fosse wins the 2023 Nobel prize in literature 10/05/2023

Jon Fosse is this year's Nobel Laureate in literature. He writes in Nynorsk or New Norwegian, which is a minority language in Norway.

Jon Fosse wins the 2023 Nobel prize in literature The Norwegian author of novels, short stories and Pinteresque drama was praised by the judges for ‘giving voice to the unsayable’

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CW Professor Annie Liontas’s new podcast, Lit Friends, launches today - 11/24! Find, follow and listen on @litfriendspod...




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