Event Review: Planet of Microbes with Ted Anton

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by Albora Memushi, contributor to the Underground

Ted Anton’s latest book release, Planet of Microbes: the Perils and Potential of Earth’s Essential Life Forms, was hosted in the Arts & Letters building at six in the evening, on Thursday, Oct 26. The lecture hall was filled with students and faculty.  Rebecca Johns-Trissler presented Anton in a brief bio. Anton’s previous publications include The Longevity Seekers (University of Chicago Press, 2013), and Bold Science: Seven Scientists Who Are Changing Our World  (W.H. Freeman, 2000, Paperback: 2001). His book Eros, Magic and the Murder of Professor Culianu (Northwestern University Press: 1996) won the Carl Sandburg Award and was a finalist for a Book Award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Music was heard from backstage as Anton walked in playing the trumpet. The audience applauded frantically. Dressed in a blue t-shirt and blue khakis, Anton smiled as he played. He thanked the students and his colleagues for helping him shape the book. Anton had prepared a PowerPoint, and he took the audience through an hour-long presentation about his research.

He spoke about the ways our lives might depend on microbes. “The same chemicals that can kill us can also save us. Most of our antibiotics come from microbes,” said Anton.

“How many microbes are on earth?” he asked the crowd. Someone shouted, “Can you give us multiple choices?” As some guessed the answer, Anton said, “There are actually 10 to the 30th power, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; if you line them up they would extend from earth to the sun and back two hundred trillion times.”

Anton ended his presentation by reading a snippet of his book. The passage spoke about the NASA conference in Chicago and Anton’s thoughts as an observer, writer, and a scientist as he faced the greatness of life among the fellow L commuters in the downtown district.

Anton completed his presentation by playing the flute and taking questions from the audience.

Upcoming presentations of the book will be hosted at Columbia University, University of Chicago, and others.

Event Review: Career Panel on Editing

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By Caitlyn Ward, contributor to the Underground

On Wednesday, October 18 in Arts and Letters Hall, the English department held a career night featuring a panel of editors. Wendy McClure, senior editor at Albert Whitman and Company, Kate DeVivo, VP at Agate Publishing, and Donna Seaman, editor for Booklist and the recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism, shared what it takes to make it in the world of editing and publishing.

Wendy works in children’s publishing, Kate in developmental publishing, and Donna in the world of book reviews; each career requires passion and creativity. Seeing these women talk about the love they have for their jobs reassured me that this was a field in which I want to work, and hearing about their different backgrounds inspired me to think about all the different career paths an English major can take. Each woman spoke highly of the challenges that come with editing and how each day was a small puzzle in making sure that this book, magazine, or textbook goes out into the world to positively impact readers.

Donna spoke about the need to be inventive, critical, and curious when evaluating any piece of literature. The panel also touched upon the importance of dabbling in different areas of publishing. For instance, you might go from working on cookbooks to working on children’s books, and each experience will add to your understanding of the publishing process. After listening to this panel of women, I took away a valuable lesson: have passion. Whether it’s love for an author, a genre of literature, or a project you hope to work on, a love of English is a must. Seeing three publishing professionals so enthusiastic about their work was inspiring and has made my love of literature, as well as my respect for those who work to bring new books and ideas to readers, grow.

Welcome to Autumn Quarter!

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Welcome to Autumn Quarter, everyone! We hope you had a wonderful summer and wish you all the best for this new quarter. Keep checking back throughout the coming weeks for English department news, internship opportunities, calls for submissions, and more. You can also follow The Underground on Facebook and Twitter!

Event Spotlight: Visiting Writers Kathleen Rooney, Martin Seay

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by Robert M. Keding
contributor to the Underground

Packed in to a small meeting room in DePaul’s Richardson Library, a large audience gathered to hear authors Kathleen Rooney and Martin Seay read selections from their newest novels, and then answer questions on their creative processes and experiences within the literary world.

Martin Seay’s book is entitled The Mirror Thief, and follows three different con artists working in sixteenth-century Venice, 1950s Venice Beach, California, and modern-day Las Vegas in the Venice Casino. This bold debut novel, weaving together these three seemingly separate but mysteriously linked narratives, is a masterfully written tale, evoking comparisons to such work as Cloud Atlas.

Seay’s advice to aspiring writers is to do a lot of background research, especially for period pieces like The Mirror Thief. “Even if you have the facts and details right, you still have to make sure the dialogue flows correctly too. Otherwise you might just end up with characters that sound like the people faking British accents on the subway,” he told the crowd. To get the sixteenth-century portions of the story sounding right, he found himself reading a lot of literature of that time—especially Shakespeare.

Kathleen Rooney spoke about her recent novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. This is her second novel, and was just published by St. Martin’s Press in the first weeks of 2017. The story chronicles an aging Lillian, going for a stroll around New York City and recounting various moments during her life, from humble beginnings to a career as the highest-paid woman in American advertising.

Rooney’s advice touched on the differences between writing prose and poetry, another realm of literature which she is invested in. “It’s possible to accidentally sit down and write a great poem. It’s a task so durationally shorter and full of so many chances for happy mistakes… It is, however, much more difficult to sit down for an hour or two and come up saying, ‘Whoops, I just accidentally wrote a really well-crafted novel!’” The room, undoubtedly filled with aspiring writers, could certainly relate.

Be sure to look for The Mirror Thief and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, in bookstores now.

Scholarships for English Majors

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Applications due February 5th, 2017

The English department invites applications for three scholarships available to English majors: the Ellin M. Kelly, Ph. D. Endowed British Literature Award ($1500), the Honors English Scholarship ($2900), and the Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship ($2800). Each scholarship has different requirements.

To be eligible for any of these scholarships, students must

  • be declared English majors at sophomore level or higher.
  • have completed at least two quarters at DePaul.
  • have completed at least three English courses with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in those courses.
  • plan to register in at least two courses in Spring 2017.

To apply for scholarships you must complete the following steps:

1.  If you have not done so already for the current academic year, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid at https://fafsa.ed.gov/) and have the results sent to DePaul University. This is only required for need-based scholarships. Please note that you are not required to accept a financial aid package in order to be considered for need-based scholarships. You need only fill out and submit the application. Any federal financial aid accepted on your behalf through the FAFSA process is your responsibility.

2. Complete the General Application at https://depaul.academicworks.com/users/sign_in.

a.       Log into the DePaul Online Scholarship Application using your Campus Connect ID and password.

b.      Complete and submit the General Application.

i.    Once your application has been completed and submitted successfully, it will be marked with a green checkmark.

ii.   If it is gray, the application was not submitted successfully; try again.

3.  After submitting the General Application, you will automatically route to opportunities for which you qualify and more information is needed. If you are recommended for additional scholarships, you will be able to view a list of opportunities.  Apply for them by clicking on the blue “Apply” button beside each scholarship.  Additional questions or information may be required to complete the application process.

After Submitting an Application

If awarded a scholarship, you will be notified via email and you will see a notification on the “applications” tab of the scholarship application site under “active.” You must accept the award within the DePaul Online Scholarship Application in order to receive the money. You will also receive communication from financial aid stating that your financial aid award letter has been updated. If you are not selected for a scholarship, you will see a notification on the “home” tab of the website indicating your application was reviewed and not selected. Individual emails are not sent for those not selected.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Jennifer Conary, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at jconary1@depaul.edu.

Available Scholarships

Ellin M. Kelly, Ph. D. Endowed British Literature Award, $1500

The Kelly Endowed British Literature Award recognizes the academic achievement of students who have demonstrated their dedication to the study of British literature.  Preference will be given to candidates with a strong interest in Medieval Literature and/or students who plan to go on for a graduate degree in English. Only Juniors and Seniors are eligible for this scholarship.

Applicants for this scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • A 400-500-word statement highlighting your dedication to the study of British literature as demonstrated through your coursework, including independent studies or research projects, as well as any related extracurricular activities or future plans.
  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • An essay dealing with British literature from any period.

The Honors English Scholarship, $2900

The Honors English scholarship provides financial assistance to Honors students who are also English majors. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be enrolled in the Honors Program and you must demonstrate financial need. Academic engagement and achievement will also be taken into consideration.

Applicants for the Honors English Scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • A 400-500-word statement highlighting your academic engagement and achievement in the English major and the Honors Program and indicating how this scholarship will help you financially.
  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • A writing sample (a literary essay or a creative work produced for one of your classes)

The Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship, $2800

The Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship provides financial assistance to students majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.  You must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.

Applicants for this scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • A sample of your creative writing (short story, set of poems, essay, etc.).

 

 

 

Event Spotlight: Curbside Splendor’s Book Fort Fair

by Robert M. Keding
contributor to the Underground

Upon entering the Revival Food Hall, visitors feel the cold and snowy outside world fade away. Long aisles filled with people spread as far as the eye can see, encompassed by a warm glow of laughter and conversation. The Food Hall is filled with over a dozen different stations run by some of Chicagoland’s best restaurants, serving up their most popular dishes in all tastes and styles. The Food Hall is packed even on their slowest days, but things are especially hopping today. And that is because Curbside Splendor’s pop-up Book Fort Fair is currently underway.

Curbside Splendor is a Chicago-based independent book press, based out of Humboldt Park. In 2014 they were named the “Best Chicago Indie Publisher” by CHICAGO magazine. Curbside is the home of such fantastic work as Steve Himmer’s Scratch and Toni Nealie’s The Miles Between Me. Recently, they opened a book and record store in the Revival Food Hall, where they sell their work, the work of other independent presses, and hold events such as novella contests, literary readings, and book fairs like this one, to engage the public with Chicago’s ever-growing and prospering literary scene.

The Book Fort Fair, at first glance, seems to be their biggest event yet. Many tables line the already-crowded aisles towards the hall’s center, their surfaces packed with an unimaginable array of overlooked and underappreciated novels from Midwest authors. Representatives from Curbside stand beside their tables, speaking enthusiastically about the work, making connections and recommendations with the Hall’s visitors. The air is electric, as diners not only share the food on their plates, but also stories.

As the weather gets colder, and the days grow shorter, consider visiting the Revival Food Hall, located at 125 S. Clark Street in downtown Chicago’s Loop. Grab some friends, grab some food, and stop by Curbside Splendor’s shop to grab a good book to top the day off.

The shop is open from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on weekdays. They are closed on weekends, except during special events such as the book fairs. Visit their website for more information.