November 2019: Public Fellow Work

This will be a very quick post, since it’s already December and I’m behind. I just want to give an idea of the type of work I’ve been doing as a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow at Library of America. The work I’ll feature here is some of the writing I’ve done for our website, since that’s easiest to showcase. What I love about the position is that, no matter what type of project I’m working on (whether an author interview, a literary timeline, or an author biography), it always builds on the skills I developed during my doctoral studies…so take that, everybody who says a Ph.D. in the humanities offers no real world skills! For example, one of the strategies I always taught my writing students was to study “mentor texts” to learn the conventions of a new genre before trying to write in that genre themselves. That has been immensely useful as I’ve had to write in completely new genres and as I’ve had to write within the parameters of an institution with its own styles, preferences, and brand. Know that I’m leaving out a lot of work that that can’t be shared yet, but stick around and you’ll see that all soon enough!

Here is an interview I conducted with two-time Pulitzer Prize-Winning NYT journalist Nicholas Kristof, who was a genuine pleasure to work with. I had attended the United Nations Association of NY Humanitarian Awards in October and was inspired by Kristof, who was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, so I reached out to interview him about the relationship between journalism, human rights, and the American past and present.

Here is an interview I conducted with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor, who was the very first scholar I read for my historiography list during comprehensive exam preparations back in 2014. The interview is about Taylor’s new book on Thomas Jefferson’s ambitions for an American system of public education and on the founder’s complicated legacy in American history.

This post is a simple introduction and contextualization of a video recorded at one of our events on a new title, March Sisters, a collection of four women writers’ reflections on the influence of Alcott’s four March sister characters on their own lives.

And here is another simply introduction to a video of our recent event in which Jonathan Franzen discusses the influence of the Peanuts cartoons on his own life and on American culture.

Hope you enjoy!

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