Alcestis Austin Books Dissertation Graduate school

Another news roundup

Chronologically, as it seems easiest:

Last Friday, I defended my dissertation in the Fleur Cowles Room at the Harry Ransom Center. (You want to follow that photo link, I promise.) Fleur Cowles was one of the sponsors of the internship I participated in at the Ransom Center, so it felt like a nice conclusion to my years as a graduate student to be in that pale-yellow room full of paintings of tigers and flowers and at least one unicorn. The defense itself went swimmingly, as did the dinner and drinks we decamped for afterward. It was really nice night.

This week, I finished up the line edits I’d made while re-reading the dissertation yet again before the defense, and yesterday I officially filed to graduate. A very strange feeling, I can tell you. But pleasant, too. I’m looking forward to being back in the classroom.

And then: last night, Alcestis won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction from the Publishing Triangle. I wasn’t able to get to New York to attend the ceremony, unfortunately, but I followed the live-tweets (!), and got a report from Soho’s Mark Doten, who attended on my behalf and accepted the award. I hear that some very nice things were said about the book, and I am so honored and touched. Here’s Lambda Literary’s lovely write-up of the awards ceremony, with a photo of the winners who were present.

On a sadder note, I was sorry to see earlier today that Joanna Russ has died after a series of strokes. If you haven’t read How to Suppress Women’s Writing, now’s a good time. (It continually makes me happy to know that there’s a UT Press edition of that book.) If nothing else, read the cover, which in itself is enough to get a good conversation started with students. I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to use the book or its cover next fall, but it’ll appear in one of my spring classes. For more about Russ and her literary career, see this excellent tribute at io9.

I’m still a bit dazed from the last few weeks, but I’ll be moving on soon to more course-planning and Killingly-writing. And planning my move to Wooster!

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