I graduated with a degree in English from Ball State in December 2007, and now I live in a small village in rural Hertfordshire, England. The Beckham’s have an estate down the river, and sometimes my son and I walk over there and feed their horses. On those days, and the ones when we take the train into London to visit the museums, I wonder, how did I manage this?
Ball State University’s Writing Program is excited to announce November’s First Friday Series speaker, Tammy Conard-Salvo, associate director of the Purdue Writing Lab who will present “The Purdue OWL and the Land Grant Mission: Uncovering Invisible Innovation and Research” on November 1 at 1:00 PM in Carmichael Hall 203.
Christina Blanch, the second presenter in the Marilyn K. Cory Speaker Series, will be speaking on Monday, November 4th at 7:30pm in LB 125. Last spring, Christina also taught a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at Ball State University focused on gender and comic books. Learn more about the class from an interview on Wired.com. You can find out more about Christina, the other speakers in the series, and their collective focus on comic books and graphic novels in a recent post by the series organizer, Dr. Debbie Mix.
October 20th is the official National Day on Writing, and CityWrite is a week-long experience in Indianapolis that encourages people to write. You can attend one of many public CityWrite sessions or submit your writing online. CityWrite is happening now, from October 14-20 in Indianapolis. Read below to find out more about CityWrite!
In the last few years, folks in and outside of Indianapolis have had a lot to say about the city. Locals and nonlocals have weighed in on the city’s benefits and drawbacks. Most of the individuals talking, writing, and being heard are politicians, journalists, or economic developers. What is consistently missing from those media messages are the voices of the Indianapolis community. All too often, the common and everyday experiences that shape our lives and impact our community go unnoticed, and memories connected to our living spaces remain undocumented. How can we talk about what our communities should be if we don’t know what they were?
CityWrite was the vision of Mark Latta (Marian University and the Indiana Writers Center) along with Darolyn “Lyn” Jones (Ball State University and the Indiana Writers Center). As writers, community activists, and educators, Mark and Lyn have worked together for several years on a variety of memoir and ethnography projects, but each with the same vision: to encourage everyone to use their voice. Writing is a way for people to use their own language to illustrate the common and uncommon human experience we each share.
On October 23, the Departments of English, Anthropology and Religious Studies will be hosting a screening of Punches n Ponytails (2008), a documentary on women’s boxing in India. The screening will be from 7:00-9:00 in LB 125 and will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker, Pankaj Rishi Kumar. This event is free and open to all.
Ball State English Professor and Writing Program Director Jackie Grutsch McKinney’s first book, Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers, was published by Utah State University Press in 2013. She recently discussed her book with graduate assistant Kelsey Englert. Read below to learn more about her book and her writing process.
When I started college, there were a few things I never thought I’d do but did. I took up swing dancing. I got hooked on Netflix.
I started a blog.
In the latest installment of our Recommended Reads series, the chair of the English Department, Dr. Elizabeth Riddle, recommends three novels in translation by Orhan Pamuk, Dai Sijie, and Irène Némirovsky.
If you pick up My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, make sure to do so during a vacation, because you may have trouble putting this 400+ page book down. The novel transports us to 16th century Turkey on the eve of profound challenges to deeply held religious and aesthetic values. A workshop of masters of Persian miniature painting is asked by the sultan to incorporate the newly encountered Western style of painting into a special book commemorating the sultan’s achievements. But the resulting depiction of humans could be seen as an insult to Islam, the new use of perspective a betrayal of artistic tradition. Indeed, the national identity seems to be threatened as modernity confronts the Turkish and Persian aesthetic passed down through centuries as a treasure. Emotional turmoil and murder ensue.
Told in the first person, the chapters alternate the voices of key characters, including the unknown murderer, lovers, artists, friends, and rivals. We plunge into their souls, and in so doing, absorb lessons on philosophy, the meaning of art, aesthetics, identity, adaptation, loss, and survival. Altogether a gripping read.
My Name is Red was the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature and the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It was translated into lyrical English by Erdag M. Gornar, first published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. in 2001. The Vintage International edition was published by Vintage Books in 2002.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie also confronts a turbulent period of cultural change with implications for the arts, identity, and education. The novel is narrated primarily in the voice of an adolescent urban boy purged with his friend Luo to the countryside to work for the people, i.e. poor farmers, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China. This is their punishment for the privilege of having had some high school education in the city, and they must use subterfuge if their bodies and their spirits are to survive. In an early scene, the violin of the narrator is determined to be a “bourgeois toy” by the village headman and about to be thrown into a fire. At Luo’s instigation, the narrator plays for the headman and surrounding mob a suspect “Western” sonata, which the quick-thinking Luo renames “Mozart is Thinking of Chairman Mao,” thus saving both their skins and the instrument. Later, the two boys secretly read forbidden and deviously obtained Balzac novels translated from French into Chinese and share their worldly knowledge with a young seamstress, leading to very unexpected results. This is a captivating and ironic tale lent authenticity by the author’s own experiences during the Cultural Revolution.
The 184-page novel was beautifully translated from the original French by Ina Rilke, and the English edition published by Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2002.
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky stems from yet another turbulent time and place, Nazi-occupied France. This work is believed to be the first contemporaneous WW II novel. As the preface to the French edition explains, Némirovsky, a Russian-Jewish émigré to France, and her husband perished in the Holocaust, but their two young daughters survived. Their mother had already established a literary reputation in pre-war France, but her promise had been cut short in Auschwitz. Only in the 1990’s did the daughters realize that their mother’s notebook, which they had retained as a precious remembrance, was actually a full new and compelling novel.
Némirovsky probes human character and the mid-century mores of the French bourgeoisie set against a foreboding landscape punctuated by the trivial. Each “movement” of the Suite presents different characters’ migrations to seek safety and sustenance, with varied degrees of success; irony and contradiction abound.
A meta-irony is that although Némirovsky died in Auschwitz in 1942, her novel has been criticized by some for not addressing the specific horror of the Holocaust for her fellow Jews. The novel thus suggests important questions about authors’ contested roles as witnesses and spokespersons for their societies of birth.
Elegantly translated from the French by Sandra Smith, the novel was published as a Vintage International edition in 2007, and previously published in hardcover first by Chatto & Windus in London, and subsequently New York by Vintage Books in 2006.
Scott McCloud, the first presenter in the Marilyn K. Cory Speaker Series, will be speaking on Monday, October 7 at 7:30pm in AJ175. You can find out more about Scott, the other speakers in the series, and their collective focus on comic books and graphic novels in a recent post by the Series organizer, Dr. Debbie Mix.