Quartet Metadata Concert at Fordham LC, Nov. 14


Professor Lawrence Kramer is organizing a concert on Tuesday, November 14th at 7:30PM featuring new works performed by Quartet Metadata at the 12th Floor Lounge of Fordham's Lowenstein Building, 113 W 60th St. (at Columbus Avenue). This event will be free admission. The Quartet Metadata, will play recent compositions for string quartet by Carter Burwell, Shelley Washington, and with guest artists. This event will also be the premiere of Wingspan for String Sextet by Lawrence Kramer as well as Brahms's popular String Sextet no. 1.

For more information about this event check out 


Apply Now: English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration


The Creative Writing Program at Fordham University is accepting applications for the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration.

Premised on the belief that the study of literature and the practice of writing are mutually enforcing, the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration emphasizes the inter-relations among creative writing, digital media, criticism, and scholarship. As a concentration with a dual focus on literature and creative work, fully integrated within the English department, this degree offering combines literature courses, small writing workshops, and practical industry training to prepare students for advanced study or careers in writing, media, and publishing. In addition, students benefit from the resources provided by New York City, a worldwide center for literary publishing.

To learn more about the application process, course requirements, and program please visit bit.ly/cwmajor.

Applications are due Wednesday, November 1st.


Fordham Welcomes 2017 Mary Higgins Clark Chair, A.S. King

On October 2nd, the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program celebrated the Mary Higgins Clark Chair in Creative Writing and Fordham LitFest 2017.

Preceding this year’s Mary Higgins Clark chair address by celebrated surrealist YA author A.S. King, English majors, minor, and prospective majors gathered in McNally Amphitheater for LitFest 2017. A celebration of the discipline of literary study and excellence in writing, LitFest gave students the opportunity to learn about the value of the English major from department faculty, enjoy the premiere of the new English department short film Real Talk: Fordham English Alums starring recent English major graduates, and discuss literary and professional interests within specialized caucuses. 

Student gather in the Publishing Caucus to discuss building a portfolio, pitching to editors, and becoming a self-disciplined writer

Student gather in the Publishing Caucus to discuss building a portfolio, pitching to editors, and becoming a self-disciplined writer


At the conclusion of LitFest, King, took to the stage to deliver her address, titled “Writing Novels - Trust the Process, Work Often, Die Happy.” King’s address focused on her spontaneous writing process known as pantsing.

Pantsing, explained King, is the process of writing without an outline—diving right into a story without knowing where it will lead. For King, this writing begins with a character: “My characters tell me things, and I listen.”

This method seems like a crazy approach to writing a novel, and it is, King promised. She admitted her dive-right-in process requires trust in a way plotted writing does not. "I trust in a very untrustworthy world,” she explained. “I always have, and I always will. That's why I write the way I do.”

“You write the best book you possibly can, and then you write another one. And then you write another one. Repeat.”

“You write the best book you possibly can, and then you write another one. And then you write another one. Repeat.”


The author also discussed her challenges as a woman writing in a predominantly male genre. “As a surrealist writer, being female isn’t always a picnic,” confessed King. She reflected on years of being mislabeled by publishers, undervalued, and rejected for being too strange or not romantic enough for a female writer: “Apparently my work wouldn’t be as hard to shelve if I thought like women are supposed to think, as if the marriage of my brain and my hands is somehow rerouted through my glands.”

After fifteen years of rejection, King was finally published. Though praise has followed, King insists financial success and glory have never been her motivators. “This is a hard business, but the goal is ultimately to write more books, to make more art, to stay focused on what’s important, to continue to meet my own goals, to reach out," she explained. "And encourage people to share their stories too—that’s a big one.”

King's advice to young writers in the audience was simple: make writing a priority. "I am always writing," said King. "Writing makes me happy," she explained. "I’m a better mother, a better friend, a better writer, and a better person when I’m happy."

Write often, encouraged the celebrated author. Pantsing is one way to do it, said King, but it doesn't work for everyone. "No one writes a book the same way as anybody else," she maintained. "Find what works for you, and write."

King closed her address by revealing what inspires her: “I want to give people a part of myself. I want to write books that come to me. I want to help other people." She put it simply: "That’s what makes me happy.”

FCLC '19 Cat Reynolds presents FCLC '79 Mary Higgins Clark with a gift from Fordham University.

FCLC '19 Cat Reynolds presents FCLC '79 Mary Higgins Clark with a gift from Fordham University.

“Queen of Suspense” and graduate of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, Class of 1979, Mary Higgins Clark took to the stage after King, and praised King for her inspiring and entertaining address. The bestselling author especially identified with the joy King found in proving her critics wrong. She reflected on a particularly harsh rejection slip: “It read, ‘Mrs. Clark, your stories are light, slight, and trite,’ and I thought, ‘I’ll show you,’ and I did.” 

“You’ve proved them right fifty-seven times now, correct?” asked Fordham’s president Father McShane upon the event’s closing. “That’s how many novels you’ve written?” Clark nodded. McShane ended the evening with expressing his gratitude for Mary Higgins Clark and her generosity towards Fordham University, as well as his gratitude for King: “You have liberated some minds in here tonight with your words, and for that we are grateful.”

[To see the Fordham News story on this event, click here. Their story includes even more fun photos!]

Audience members have their books signed by A.S. King and Mary Higgins Clark following the address. 

Audience members have their books signed by A.S. King and Mary Higgins Clark following the address. 



Join the Blackboard Book Group on A.S. King's *Ask the Passengers*


Looking for some good reading to share and talk about with others? Read Ask the Passengers, a work of Young Adult fiction by acclaimed writer A..S. King. She'll be visiting Fordham the week of October 2, 2017 as the Mary Higgins Clark Chair to give a reading and lead workshops. Professors Stacey D'Erasmo and Glenn Hendler are leading a loose, open, summer-long book group with this book on Blackboard, and we'd love for you to join in. 

  • First: buy the book and start reading it
    • Then: log into Blackboard.
    • If you're an English major, you're already enrolled in the "Ask the Passengers Book Group." Just log in to Blackboard, click on "Organizations," and you'll see the name of the group. 

There are at least three ways to participate:

  1. Talk. Go to the discussion board and you can either respond to one of the questions there or start a discussion thread of your own.
  2. Write. Go to "Letters to Passengers" and you can join the novel's main character, Astrid Jones, by writing something to anonymous passengers in airplanes (or the subway or bus or in cars on the highway....it won't make sense until you've started reading the book, but then you'll see what we mean).
  3. Read. Click on "interesting stuff" and read some of the web links and documents posted there. We'll keep adding more over the course of the summer. And you can suggest items to be added, too!

Also: invite your friends to join the group (even if they're not English majors)! Anyone with a fordham.edu e-mail address can join the discussion by going to http://bit.ly/2017FordhamEnglishBookGroup. You can also go in to Blackboard to adjust your notifications so that you get e-mails whenever others post...or so you don't. 

The Backstory

Celebrated author Mary Higgins Clark, a Fordham alum, recently endowed a visiting professorship in creative writing, the Mary Higgins Clark Chair, which will bring to campus a distinguished writer who will do a public reading as well as lead workshops, seminars, and master classes. To honor Mary Higgins Clark's storied career as a writer of genre fiction, the English department is inviting writers who work in popular genres as our first Clark chairs. 

So, A.S. King will be visiting Fordham the week of October 2, 2017, as this year's Mary Higgins Clark Chair. A.S. King has been called “One of the best Y.A. writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review. King is the author of highly-acclaimed novels including her 2016 release Still Life with Tornado, 2015’s surrealist I Crawl Through It, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz among others. She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school students. After fifteen years living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.

Farewell and Congratulations to Graduating Seniors

All of us on the English Department faculty are proud to have had you as students. You’ve thrilled us with your critical and creative writing; you’ve challenged and stimulated us in class discussion; you’ve impressed us with your imaginations, your drive, your social engagement, your political activism. In the four years you’ve been here—and especially in a year that has been difficult and divisive both locally and nationally--having you in our classrooms has kept us sane and reminded us why we chose the academic profession.

So, while we congratulate you and wish you well, we also want to thank you for all of this and more. We hope you use the critical thinking skills you’ve honed as English majors, along with the knowledge you’ve developed of diverse cultures and different historical periods, to make the world a better place. 

And keep in touch with us! Whether it’s by sending us news through English Connect, or by writing your favorite English professors, we want to know what you’re doing. We are especially interested in hearing, as you move forward in life, about moments in your lives and careers when you realize how things you learned as English majors are serving you well, and are helping you to serve others well.

Enjoy this weekend…and the rest of your lives!


English Department Chair Glenn Hendler

On behalf of the entire English faculty

Fordham English Students Win Awards and Prizes

Congratulations to Fordham English undergraduate and graduate students who have won the following prizes in Spring 2017. No, we don't offer any of the awards shown to the right, but we think our award-winners are pretty special, too. :

  •  ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS: Aaron Pinnix for "Autobiographic, Thanatotic, Poetic"
  • CHARLES J. DONAHUE PRIZE Elizabeth Light - $250.00
  • GRADUATE ESSAY PRIZES: Matthew Lillo, Clarissa Chenovick
  • GRADUATE SYLLABUS PRIZES: Sharon Harris, Aaron Pinnix
  • THE REID FAMILY PRIZE: Emily Mendez for "1996"
  • ULLY HIRSCH / ROBERT F. NETTLETON POETRY PRIZES: Heath Hampton for "bienvenidos a nueva york" and "UN SELECCION DE SUS OTROS HIJOS.” AND Danni Hu for "Stomach"