English, Department of



LSU English is home to world-renowned faculty, innovative course offerings, and talented students. At the heart of our work is an attention to verbal communication in spoken and written form – what humans do with language, how we do it, why we do it, and to what effects. Through the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, film, theory, and the craft of writing in a variety of genres and forms, we challenge students to ask questions of texts, to read beyond literal meanings, to understand how context and text interact, and to create compelling texts of their own. The value of an English degree is that the person who can write with elegance and precision, and who has the skills to interpret and analyze texts, is needed – and valued - in every area of work and life.

Go to Undergraduate and Graduate Course Descriptions to see examples of what our Department has to offer and browse “About Us” to learn about our faculty, graduate students, publications, events, and more.

Professor Sue Weinstein
Chair, Department of English


English Department Awards Ceremony

This year's awards ceremony will be held Tuesday, April 30 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in Allen 139.

Graduate Awards

William Jay Smith MFA Award for Poetry: William Jay Smith was the author of ten books of poetry, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award. From 1968 to 1970, he was Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress.

Winner: Taylor Dentor for "an old god lives in east baton rouge parish"
Judge: Anthony Cody

David Madden MFA Award for Fiction: David Madden is an award-winning novelist, poet, literary critic, and playwright. For many years he taught at Louisiana State University, where he served as writer-in-residence and director of the creative writing program. He is also the founder of the university's U. S. Civil War Center.

Winner: Jalen Jones for "How to Be a Writer of Color"
Judge: John Vercher

Ruth Elizabeth McClain Cassidy MFA Award for Screenwriting: For many years Betty Cassidy and her family have been staunch and generous supporters of LSU's English Department and the Creative Writing Program.

Winner: Justin Howerton for Clearing the Trace
Judge: Jamey Hatley

Kent Gramm MFA Award for Literary Nonfiction: Kent Gramm teaches at Gettysburg College and is a prolific author. His books include Gettysburg: A Meditation on War and Values and Somebody's Darling: Essays on the Civil War.

Winner: Matty Carville for "How to Grow Guts & Other Ruminations from My Pregnancy"
Judge: Emily Prado

The Robert Penn Warren Awards for Best MFA Thesis: During the years Robert Penn Warren taught in the LSU English Department, he founded The Southern Review, began writing All the King's Men, and developed New Criticism, the literary theory which would revolutionize the teaching of literature: He received the 1947 Pulitzer Price for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Price for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only writer to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. On the second floor of Allen Hall, a conference room is named in his honor.

Poetry Winner: Nuha Fariha for A Reckoning
Judge: Diana Khoi Nguyen

Prose Winner: Zach Shultz for Disclosure: A Novella and Other Stories
Judge: Vanessa Hua

Undergraduate Awards

Dara Wier Award for Poetry: Pulitzer Prize winning poet Dara Wier is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, and has been published in Best American Poetry. She currently directs the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Winner: Ingrid Marie Jensen for "Blue Notes"
Judge: Skye Jackson

John Ed Bradley Award for Fiction: Named in honor of celebrated novelist and sports journalist John Ed Bradley. His most recent book is the young adult novel The Road to Wherever.

Winner: Jessica Michelet for "The Patchwork Girl"
Judge: Annell López

Sarah Sue Goldsmith Award for Nonfiction: Named in memory of author Sarah Sue Goldsmith, who taught English at LSU and was book review editor and feature writer for the Baton Rouge Advocate. She was also associate director of LSU Media Services.

Winner: Lauren Harmon for "On Fire Under Water"
Judge: Christopher Romaguera

Rex Reed Award for Screenwriting: Rex Reed is a film critic and the former co-host of the syndicated television show "At the Movies." He currently writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.

Winner: Amy Ruckman for "4 Small Hands"
Judge: MJ Weertz

Gus and Leanne Weill Award for Playwriting: Gus Weill was a distinguished playwright, novelist, and political consultant. Leanne Weill is a Baton Rouge advertising and public relations executive.

Winner: Guadalupe Montes for "Support Person"
Judge: Clarence Nero 


English Department News

Congratulations to Distinguished Instructor Nolde Alexius, who has been awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society of Louisiana State University 2024 Outstanding Instructor Award! Nolde has been a valued member of the English Department for many years and we are thrilled that her many contributions to students and to English have been recognized with this prestigious award.

Congratulations to Michael Bibler, who has been awarded the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award. This award recognizes faculty members with sustained records of excellence in teaching, research, and service.  Michael will be recognized alongside other university faculty award winners at a reception to be held on Tuesday, April 23 at the Shaw Center for the Arts.

Congratulations to Ariel Francisco, who has been awarded the LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award. This award recognizes faculty at the rank of assistant professor who have outstanding records of scholarship and published research. Ariel will be recognized alongside other university faculty award winners at a reception to be held on Tuesday, April 23 at the Shaw Center for the Arts.

Congratulations to Brannon Costello, who has been awarded the Barbara Womack Alumni Professorship. This award recognizes a faculty member with a reputation for excellence in instruction, especially in undergraduate teaching; a record of active and continuing interest and participation in areas of professor-student relations; dedication to his/her academic field; and outstanding professional relationships with other faculty and staff members. Brannon will be recognized alongside other university faculty award winners at a reception to be held on Tuesday, April 23 at the Shaw Center for the Arts. 

New Faculty (Coming Fall 2024)

David Nee will be joining the Department of English in Fall 2024 as an assistant professor in the Early Modern/Renaissance area. He earned his BA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and his PhD in English from Harvard University.

Ashlynn Wittchow will be receiving her PhD in Spring 2024 from Teachers College, Columbia University and will be joining the English Department in Fall 2024 as an assistant professor in the area of English Education.

Jessica Valdez will be joining the Department of English in Fall 2024 as an assistant professor of 19th Century British Literature. She comes to us from the University of East Anglia and previously worked at the University of Hong Kong.

Alexandra Meany will be coming from the University of Washington where she will be receiving her PhD. She will be joining the Department of English in fall 2024 as an assistant professor in the area of Multi-Ethnic Literature.


Faculty Accomplishments

Pallavi Rastogi's new book, Teaching South Asian Anglophone Diasporic Literature, co-edited with Nalini Iyer, has been published by MLA. From the publisher: "Teaching South Asian Anglophone Diasporic Literature embraces an intersectionality that attends to the historical and material conditions of cultural production, the institutional contexts of pedagogy, and the subject positions of teachers and students. Encouraging a deep engagement with works whose personal, political, and cultural insights are specific to South Asian diasporic consciousness, the volume also provokes meaningful reflection on other literatures in an age of increasing migration and diaspora."

Congratulations to English instructor Cole Connelly on the release of the guide for his Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, The Baedran Compendium. Cole writes, "At over 2,500 pages, the Baedran Compendium details the entire world of Baedran, including its continents, nations, cultures, and conflict! The Guide also contains hundreds of spells and items, two Campaigns that run from level 1 all the way to level 20, and myriad Character Creation options, such as Subclasses, Feats, and Backgrounds!

 Associate professor Joshua Wheeler has a newly inked book deal for his novel, The High Heaven, which will be published by the prestigious Graywolf Press. The book is slated for Fall 2025 release.

According to "Publishers Marketplace," The High Heaven follows the life of a woman who grew up in a New Mexico UFO cult and is rescued by a rancher near White Sands, where space exploration meets manifest destiny meets cowboy entertainment, which then launches her on a restless quest across the Southwest. (February 27, 2024)

Irina Shport has co-authored "Kyoo, This Word Sounds Weird: A Case Study of a Cajun English Interjection" with 2019 Graduate Lauren Vidrine. It has been selected as the winner of the Roger W. Shuy Award for the Best Essay in the journal American Speech for 2023. The article got a good bit of attention when it first came out, including this press release from the LSU Media Center and this article in The Advocate.

Graduate Student Accomplishments

Erin Little published work in Olney Magazine and Crab Creek Review. Erin was also announced as the 2023 Poetry Chapbook winner by Chestnut Review for chapbook, Personal Injury. Her debut chapbook, described as "crucial, painful, and innermost," will be available later this year. An interview with Erin discussing writing about and into trauma was published in Chestnut Review in October.

Taylor Thompson (M.A. 2023) started this Fall as a Visiting Lecturer of English with Specialization in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University while completing her PhD at LSU.

Seohye Kwon (Ph.D. candidate) was selected as one of the LSU representatives of the 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars program. She will receive an increase in her graduate assistantship stipend for one year and join students from across the SEC at the University of Arkansas this October for the multi-day 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars Program and Career Preparation Workshop. Seohye also published a book review of Judgment and Mercy by Martin J. Siegel titled "Irving Robert Kaufman's American Dream.” She has received a Korean Honor Scholarship from the Korean government, an award given to outstanding students of Korean heritage to encourage high achievement of academic performance and the development of leadership qualities for their future professional careers. 

Nuha Fariha (MFA candidate) published her first poetry collection, God Mornings Tiger Nights, with Game Over Books in August 2023. This collection is “an ode to the enduring spirit of the Bengal tiger and a love letter to an immigrant's journey.”

Sunny Rosen (MFA candidate) received a Best of the Net nomination for a poem published with Taco Bell Quarterly. She published a book review with Current Magazine on Alba de Céspedes’s 1952 novel Forbidden Notebook. Sunny was also received a scholarship in the summer to attend the Convivio Writer’s Conference in Umbria, Italy.



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Course Descriptions

Graduate Course Offerings

Undergraduate Course Offerings