A Fordham English Degree Opens Doors

Kamrun Nesa, Fordham ‘16, has only been out of school a short time, and she’s already making her mark on the publishing world. Kamrun is an associate publicist at Grand Central Publishing and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in USA Today and The Washington Post.

Kamrun Nesa, ‘16.

Kamrun Nesa, ‘16.

When asked about her experience at Fordham, Kamrun says, “Fordham’s English Department was instrumental in launching my career as a book publicist and freelance writer, namely three professors who provided a strong support system during my time at Fordham: Mary Bly, Elizabeth Stone, and Vlasta Vranjes.”

Kamrun took several journalism classes––taught by Elizabeth Stone––for Fordham’s award-winning student newspaper The Observer, which inspired her to take up freelance writing during college.

“I also took Mary Bly's Publishing: Theory and Practice class my junior, which introduced me to the many facets of publishing and also inspired me to pursue creative writing and craft my own stories. I received my first internship through that class, which put me on a trajectory that culminated in a full-time publicity job at a book publishing house after college. 

While the professional courses helped me hone my career (and craft!), the literature courses I took, namely Victorian and 19th-century literature, deepened my appreciation for books. I loved books long before college, but Vlasta Vranjes’ creative approach took that to another level and enhanced my understanding of subtext. This level of deep analysis is something I continue to use in my writing and my full-time job. It’s how I come up with angles for the projects I work on and write press releases.”

Click here see Kamrun’s most recent article in the Washington Post: "Misconceptions about arranged marriage abound. Romance authors are here to help."

Congratulations to Kamrun! We wish her continued success.

2019 Reid Writer of Color: Kiese Laymon Talk, Reading, and Book Signing

We are proud to host Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, at the 2019 Reid Writers of Color Reading Series. He will be giving a talk/reading and there will be a book-signing on Wednesday, April 3 at 5pm in Keating 1st Auditorium at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus. His visit is part of the Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series, which since 2008 has brought some of the most celebrated writers of color to Fordham.  Events have included readings, master classes and panel discussions.  The English Department at Fordham is deeply grateful to the Reid Family for their continuing generosity.

About Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017.  Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division  and a collection of essays,  How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. 

Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review and Guernica. He has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called Heavy expected in October 2018 and a novel, And So On, in 2019, both from Scribner.

2019 Reid Book: Heavy

In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.

The Reid events are made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of the Fordham English Department and the Creative Writing Program.

Announcing the 2019 Creative Writing Prize Winners

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Creative Writing Prizes.
Big congratulations to these students!

ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRIZE
Julia Gagliardi

THE BERNICE KILDUFF WHITE & JOHN J. WHITE CREATIVE WRITING PRIZE
Erin Kiernan

THE MARGARET LAMB /WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN PRIZE
Fia Swanson

THE SUZANNA COHEN LEGACY FOUNDATION PRIZES
Dominique Dobransky
Tatiana Gallardo
Aaron Pinnix
Lauren Sperrazza

THE REID FAMILY PRIZE
Anne Marie Ward

Publishing Opportunity for Fordham Students

Are you a Fordham student who’s always dreamed of seeing your creative work in print? Well, submit to The Comma, Fordham’s new stand alone Literary Magazine.

The Comma is now accepting fiction, nonfiction, poetry, painting, photography, and more! Submissions are open to all Fordham undergraduates. The deadline is March 9th. Send submissions to thecomma@gmail.com.

Good luck!

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Fordham Teaching Fellow Releases Book

Congratulations to Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow and English PhD alum Caroline Hagood, whose book Ways of Looking at a Woman will be released March 1st by Hanging Loose Press, the same publishing house that launched such notable authors as Maggie Nelson and Sherman Alexie.

In Ways of Looking at a Woman, a book-length essay that interweaves memoir with film and literary history, Hagood assumes the role of detective to ask, what is a “woman,” “mother,” and “writer”? By turns smart, funny, and poignant, Ways of Looking at a Woman is a profound meditation on the many mysterious layers that make up both a book and a person.

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Here’s what people are saying:

“A profoundly unique and honest piece of work, somehow executed with an astonishing lack of ego. She will break your heart with her naked sincerity; a masterful, singular writer who sheds light with every page.”

—Mary-Louise Parker

“This book is for the poetry lovers whose brains have gone fractured after childbirth, fractured by love and focus and television and books, every influence jostling for precious space. Is this a poem? Is it a memoir? Is it a book on art and motherhood and love? Yes. I’ll shelve it next to Maggie Nelson, on the shelf marked Necessary.”

—Emma Straub

“A riveting portrait of a mind at work. Referencing high and low culture, family, academic syllabi, and most importantly, her body, Hagood has made something entirely new and all her own.”

—Elisa Albert


Congratulations to Dr. Hagood on this fantastic accomplishment. For more information on her book, click here: http://hangingloosepress.com/newtitles.html

Professor Keller's New Book

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Fordham Professor Eve Keller and University of Maryland Professor Kimberly Anne Coles have co-edited The Routledge Companion to Women, Sex, and Gender in the Early British Colonial World.

All of the essays in this volume capture the body in a particular attitude: in distress, vulnerability, pain, pleasure, labor, health, reproduction, or preparation for death. They attend to how the body’s transformations affect the social and political arrangements that surround it. And they show how apprehension of the body – in social and political terms – gives it shape.

Professor Keller is the author of Generating Bodies and Gendered Selves: The Rhetoric of Reproduction in Early-Modern England (University of Washington Press, 2007) and co-author of Two Rings (PublicAffairs, 2012), which has been published in seven languages. Past president of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, she is currently President of the Fordham University Faculty Senate and Director of the Honors Program at Fordham College at Rose Hill.

Congratulations to Professor Keller. For more information on Women, Sex, and Gender in the Early British Colonial World, click here: Women, Sex, and Gender in Early British Colonial World.