Steve ScarpaApril 22, 20226min
Maaza Mengiste, professor of English, has found that sometimes the scariest thing a writer can do is start over. It’s a hard-earned lesson she had to experience herself, but a vital one that she passes on to her students. Mengiste believes that the benefits of a fresh start are immeasurable. It can be a period where ideas coalesce and, perhaps more importantly, experimentation begins. When asking her students to start over, “They would look at me with sheer terror,” she said. But eventually “they would come back with these spectacular pieces of writing. It was hard to convince them sometimes,…

Steve ScarpaMarch 25, 20226min
Author Amy Bloom’s home office overlooks a lovely section of Long Island Sound, with rocky islands in the distance, boats drifting by, and sunlight playing off the harbor. When the time comes to put pen to paper, she has a magnificent view from her window. The great view doesn’t make the work any easier. “The job is, you’ve got to go to the office. You have to sit in the chair. You’ve got to make the effort. These things don’t sprout by themselves. It’s not magic and it’s not the muse. The muse shows up when she will but my…

Lauren RubensteinJanuary 28, 20192min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Recent Wesleyan News The New York Times: "Anthony Braxton Composes Together Past, Present and Future" Anthony Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, is profiled. Among other ongoing projects, Braxton has spent much of the past four years working on his newest opera, “Trillium L,” which, he says, “is a five-day opera”—if it is ever performed. 2. Los Angeles Review of Books: "That Bit of Philosophy in All of Us" Tushar Irani, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of letters,…

Olivia DrakeJanuary 15, 20192min
Amy Bloom, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, recently launched a new nonfiction writing course housed on the Coursera platform. This is Wesleyan's 21st free massive, open, online course (MOOC) offered through Coursera. Launched on Jan. 14, Bloom's Memoir and Personal Essay: Write About Yourself Specialization shows participants how to write with confidence. Taught by award-winning essayists and memoirists, this specialization provides tips, prompts, exercises, readings, and challenges that prepare students to write compelling nonfiction. Bloom, author of two New York Times best-sellers, also is professor of the practice in creative writing and professor of the practice, English. In this Q&A,…

Lauren RubensteinApril 16, 20188min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.     Recent Wesleyan News Hartford Courant: "Connecticut Natives at Wesleyan Organize TEDx Conference" Wesleyan hosted its inaugural TEDx conference on April 7, featuring talks by many distinguished alumni, local officials, and others. Two of the student organizers, Eunes Harun '20 and Leo Marturi '20, are interviewed about the event. 2. The Hill: "Trump, Pelosi Appear Most in Early Ads—for the Other Side"  A new analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project finds that Donald Trump has been the top target of political attack ads this…

Olivia DrakeMarch 1, 20181min
On Feb. 27, Wesleyan celebrated the success of students in the Endeavor Foundation First-Year Seminar Essay Contest. Winners received $200 awards and a book, selected by their course instructor. A three-year, $225,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation of New York has supported an expansion of the First Year Seminar Program. These seminars are writing intensive courses that introduce students to a variety of topics and writing associated with various disciplines. Students learn the methods used to collect, interpret, analyze and present evidence as part of a scholarly argument. Faculty teaching these classes highlight the type of writing associated with their respective…

Lauren RubensteinFebruary 16, 20187min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Recent Wesleyan News Rolling Stone: "Bethesda Founder Christopher Weaver on the Past, Present and Future of Video Games" Christopher Weaver MALS '75, CAS '76, the Distinguished Professor of Computational Media in the College of Integrative Sciences, is profiled. 2. Transitions Online: "The Search for a New World Order, Then and Now" Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, writes that a century after President Woodrow Wilson promulgated his "14 points" to guarantee world…

Laurie KenneyFebruary 5, 20186min
Award-winning author Amy Bloom '75, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, will release her latest novel, White Houses, on Feb. 13. The book centers on First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s love affair and friendship with reporter Lorena “Hick” Hickok. Told from Hickok’s point of view, White Houses covers everything from the inner workings of the Roosevelt administration to Hick’s own brutal upbringing in rural South Dakota. Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, says, “Bloom elevates this addition to the secret-lives-of-the-Roosevelts genre through elegant prose and by making Lorena Hickok a character engrossing enough to steal center stage from Eleanor Roosevelt.” While Publishers…

Laurie KenneyAugust 21, 20173min
A star-studded cast of contributors curated by Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing Amy Bloom ’75 fill the pages of New Haven Noir, featuring original stories from Michael Cunningham, Stephen Carter, Roxana Robinson, Assistant Professor of English Hirsh Sawhney and many others. The book is the latest addition to an award-winning series of original noir anthologies published by Akashic Books, founded by publisher and editor-in-chief Johnny Temple ’88. “I’m a big fan of noir,” says Bloom, editor of the anthology, which has garnered praise from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. “When Johnny called me and said, I don’t know if…

Lauren RubensteinFebruary 9, 20162min
Wesleyan will present the first-ever creative writing specialization on the Coursera platform, beginning Feb. 9. Taught by four award-winning authors, the specialization is open to anyone with a love of reading or a drive to invent a story or tell their own. Titled “Creative Writing: The Craft of Story,” the specialization will include four courses, plus a capstone.

Olivia DrakeFebruary 18, 20151min
Members of the Wesleyan Film Project's Screenwriters Lounge gathered at the Shapiro Creative Writing Center's library Feb. 16 to discuss current projects. The Wesleyan Film Project is a student-run group that formed during the fall semester 2014 and supports filmmaking on campus. During Screenwriter's Lounge sessions the students meet with each other, writers, directors and producers to review student-submitted scripts in order to prepare them for production. For more information on the group, visit the Wesleyan Film Project on Facebook. Photos of the Screenwriters Lounge gathering are below: (Photos by John Van Vlack) (more…)

Olivia DrakeFebruary 18, 20152min
Novelist Amy Bloom '75, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence, director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is co-hosting a new weekly podcast titled "Ethicists." The podcast, a re-imagination of the New York Times Magazine’s longtime “The Ethicist” column, features Bloom and two other ethicists answering questions for a half-hour. NYT Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Wesleyan alumnus Jake Silverstein '98 invited Bloom to participate in the show. The other panelists are Politico media columnist Jack Shafer and New York School of Law constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino. The first episode, titled "Close Quarters: Can I ask my neighbors to quiet their baby?" debuted Feb. 18 and is produced…