Not Just Letters - Spring 2013



Not Just Letters

Department of English



February 2013

Support your English Department

If you’d like to contribute to the Mason English Department, click here.  Please be sure to indicate the English Department in the “Other Established Fund” box. If you’re interested in other giving opportunities, please contact Kelly McCaskill, director of development, at 703-993-8706. As always, we appreciate your support.


English Majors and Alumni Meet & Greet

Wednesday, Feb. 20

3 to 5 p.m.

HUB - Rooms 3 and 4

Students (both undergrad and graduate) will then have a chance to ask alumni general questions about their experiences in the job market.


Save the Date

New Leaves Writer’s Conference April 3-5


2nd Annual MFA Gala (part of New Leaves)

Friday, April 5




Alumni Profile:

Lauren Graves

With an eloquence astounding at any age, the 27-year-old Lauren Graves, who graduated from George Mason University in just three years with degrees in English as well as in government and politics, is an intellectual tornado. “From a young age, I enjoyed the competitive aspects of academia,” she said recently from her desk in Pooler, Ga., where she is director of human resources for the municipality. “You can write your own destiny.”



A note from Robert Matz, department chair

People often think of literature and writing as serious things.  Professor Erika Lin’s research reminds us that great writing and art often emerge from game playing.  She shows that the traditions of Shakespeare’s theater have significant origins in the festival games and sports of Renaissance England, and that these traditions continued to appeal to Shakespeare’s audiences.  Story telling can often become a game, as in the telling of jokes, or in the competitive exaggeration of the tall tale.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein originated in a competition among friends to write a horror story.  Read More>>>



Professors bring creative writing to Nigeria

George Mason Creative Writing Professor Helon Habila grew up in Nigeria. The stories of his country helped to shape his writing. Now he returns the favor by spending summers teaching creative writing in his native home. Read More>>>





Introducing the BFA in creative writing

Digital or technical writer, journalist, business executive, communications manager, lawyer, historian, and essayist—these are just a few of the pursuits students can look forward to after graduating from George Mason’s innovative Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (BFA) program. Mason is now part of an elite group of universities nationwide and the first in the state of Virginia to offer a BFA in Creative Writing with concentrations in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Read More>>>


Lin's new book examines how performance shapes view of a play

For a while, Professor Erika Lin was headed for the stage. She had her sights set on becoming an actor—almost to the point of having headshots taken. Eventually though, she decided against a career in acting, and enrolled in graduate school.  









An interview with Peggy Yocom: 35 years of folklore

Department chair Robert Matz interviews Peggy Yocom about her tenure with the English Department and the 35th anniversary of Folklore Studies. Read More>>>


Beth Hoffmann, off the clock

When professor Beth Hoffmann is not teaching or writing about contemporary performance art, she pursues her other passionsinging.