Tag Archives: Writing

Works in Progress Conference 2015


Jason Nebergall presents his research on Ernie Kovacs’ “The Silent Show”.

On February 27th, eight current MAPH students presented their thesis research at our annual Works in Progress Conference. With topics ranging from philosophy to English to linguistic to cultural studies, the presenters shared fascinating projects that are well on their way to becoming impressive MA theses. Click below the jump to read summaries of the conference papers and see photos from the event!


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Writing Q & A with Jeff McMahon

Below is a Q & A with our very own Writing Advisor, Jeff McMahon. Read below for advice on writing, particularly the final papers everyone is facing right now. Both Matt and I met with Jeff last year and benefited from his advice and the opportunity to talk through our own writing blockage.

Exactly a year ago, I went into Jeff’s office for help with a 20 page paper on 3 different objects and left about 30 minutes later, tired but optimistic, with 1 cohesive argument. Remember, too, that you can meet with Jeff to discuss papers, the thesis, and principles of argument throughout the year.

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Eat, Sleep, Read: Part III (Managing Reading and Workload)

Eat, Sleep, Read is a three-part series on wellness in grad school. MAPH is a challenging year in a lot of ways, but you can make it way easier physically, mentally, and emotionally by taking care of yourself and managing your workload. For Part III, we’ll cover some academic tips that might help you manage your workload and deal with school-related stressors.eatpraylove

Obviously, one of the biggest stressors in grad school is the workload. In fact, it’s probably the biggest stressor. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating well—all these important aspects of wellness become difficult to maintain because there’s constantly so much to get done. So we’ve come to the last (and perhaps most important) post of this wellness series: how to manage your academic workload and find some balance in grad school!

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AWP 2014 Series: Emily Nordling on Genre Wars: SFF at AWP

Emily Nordling, current MAPHer and spec fic writer, wrote the following post for Tor.com (for full post, click on the link below):


Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin and Molly Gloss were two of the keynote speakers at last week’s conference for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. I’d never been to the conference before, but I couldn’t help but be surprised; there is a fairly common—and justified—defensiveness among SFF readers and writers when it comes to the mainstream literary world, whether due to its cooption of writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Angela Carter, or to its perpetuation of the high art/low art divide.  Continue reading

AWP 2014 Series: Hao Guang Tse on Translation Behind the Scenes

Translation, poetry, presses, Singapore, publishing… Read on for Hao’s hour-by-hour (more or less) account of one whirlwind afternoon and evening behind the scenes at AWP.


It is the second day of conference. I meet fellow Singaporean, friend and mentor Alvin Pang. It is always nice to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. He is with Drunken Boat editor Ravi Shankar and other members of his staff. I listen in on their plans to make Singapore literature take over the world. Ravi wants to feature a folio of Singapore poetry on Drunken Boat, and Erica Mena pitches a multi-journal collaboration to bring world poetry to the forefront of the literary-journal consciousness. The excitement is palpable. Continue reading

AWP 2014 Series: Chris Robinson on Three Imagined AWP Panels

Disclaimer: Chris gave me permission to point out that this is “fiction.” No MAPH students were chained to the UChicago booth during AWP 2014.  2013, well, that’s in the past…

While I was sitting at booth 411 of the AWP Book Fair, smiling scribers would pass by from far-off conference center rooms, glinting with the secrets they had just learned of the craft, mumbling things like “the open ending” or “linked story collections” over and over to themselves. I would sigh, try to catch one of their eyes, and turn their attention towards our program. “Why don’t you try that open ending here, at U Chicago?” I would say. Or, “We like linked stories too.” But, really, this was my way of trying to penetrate those golden orbs of knowledge they possessed now from the panels. What was it like to attend an AWP panel, I thought? What sort of person would I be if I had attended one? Yes, something in them seemed to coronate these people who now glided through the aisles of booths, breezily calling themselves “writers.” The black iron clamp around my foot jiggled the chain that linked it to our table as I sat down and began imagining my own panels and the treasures they would hold: Continue reading

AWP 2014 Series: Sabrina Medora on Changing the Narrative of Women and Literature

A five-day excursion to (surprisingly) sunny Seattle with friends and colleagues left me with a myriad of stories. Where do I begin summing up my experience at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference? From my first time in a hostel, to drinking “Unicorn Jizz” at a psychedelic Victorian bar, to witnessing first readings and being surrounded by thousands of people all in a writerly state of mind, it’s hard to pick my favorite part. So instead, I’ll focus on what impacted me the most.

The topics and discussions of women as writers.  Continue reading