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
Distinguished English Major Graduates with Honors
Evan Leonhard is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minor in philosophy, as a Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher and a University Medalist. Evan has served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Delta Journal, LSU’s premier undergraduate research journal, and has published multiple pieces of non-fiction, poetry, and photography in that and other regional journals. He has also served as an opinion columnist for LSU’s student newspaper, the Reveille, since 2019. Throughout his undergraduate career, Evan regularly presented his research on aesthetics and romanticism at LSU Discover Days and undergraduate research conferences around the country. In the spring of 2022, he was selected as one of 10 students from around the US to participate as a visiting student in the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, or The Angelicum, in Rome, Italy. He then joined as a student in the Ogden Honors in Oxford study abroad program. This spring he was named a recipient of a Fulbright ETA Fellowship for Greece, but he has decided to return to Oxford in the fall to pursue a Master of Studies in English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford University. We wish Evan all the best as he continues his studies and congratulations.
English Department Awards Ceremony
May 2, 2023
Creative Writing Awards - Undergraduate Students
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 Jensen for "Coyote Takes the Bus"
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: Rachel Claire Huye for "Memento Mori"
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: Audrey Coldwell for "Craniotomy"
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 "Hark! A Recipe for Paprika Hendl"
Matt Clark Awards from Delta Undergraduate Journal - Named in memory of Matt Clark, a prolific short story writer and the author of the novel Hook Man Speaks. While a graduate student at LSU, he was a fiction editor of the New Delta Review.
Prose Winner: Jessica Michelet
Poetry Winner: Jonah Webster
English Department Awards Ceremony
May 2, 2023
Creative Writing Awards - Graduate Students
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: Halley McArn for "Highway Medicine: Onset"
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: Sunny Rosen for "There Are Certain Things Your Body Cannot Do"
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: Zach Shultz for "Searching for Terry Miller"
Ruth Elizabeth McClain Cassidy MFA Award for Screenwriting - For many years Betty Cassidy and her family have been stauch and generous supporters of LSU's English Department and the Creative Writing Program.
Winner: Jake Zawlacki for "Desert Trip"
The Robert Penn Warren Award 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 Prize for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize 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.
Winner: Cory R. Calabria for "Lab Rat: A Pharmaceutical Life"
English Department Awards Ceremony
May 2, 2023
Jackie Wintle Scholarship Award - Casey Schaefer
Lisi Oliver Scholarship Award - Cali Frank
Caffee Award for Best Essay Written in a University Writing Class - Tyron J. Johnson
Lewis P. Simpson Distinguished Dissertation Award - Taylor Scott
James Olney Distinguished Dissertation Award - Stephanie Rambo
Dickens Project at LSU Essay Prize - Seohye Kwon; Honorable Mention - Krista Barrett
Gale Carrithers, Jr. Outstanding Critical Essay Award - Rei Asaba
Lewis P. Simpson English PhD Student Travel Award - Rachel Howatt
College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award - Tyler Sheldon
College of Humanities and Social Sciences Diversity Committee Excellence in Teaching Award - Denis Waswa
Sarah Liggett Teaching Award (EGSA) - Rebecca Stobaugh
Borck Essay Contest (for Mardi Gras Conference, EGSA) - Jake Zawlacki for "Unintended Consequences: Spawn as 'Superman Black'"
English Leadership Awards (co-sponsored by the English Department and EGSA, given to graduate students for leading English-sponsored conferences and initiatives: Mardi Gras Conference and Underpass) -Co-President - Amber Jurgensen; Co-President - Elizabeth Robertson; Mardi Gras Conference Chairs - Taylor Thompson and Adanna Ogbonna-Oluikpe
Creative Writing News
We Were Angry, the third short story collection by Jennifer S. Davis, is a finalist for a 2022 INDIES Book of the Year Award in the "Short Fiction" category. We Were Angry was the winner of the 2021 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction.
Taylor Denton published her first full-length novel, Antlers of Bone, with Running Wild Press in May. The surrealist novel follows Lily, an ex-ballerina, who is sent to Meadowlark - a top new-age mental institution - where she struggles to distinguish fantasy from reality. At Meadowlark, Lily journeys through the surrealistic landscape of her own mind and must decide, once and for all, if her own life is worth fighting for.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin sold his second novel, The American Daughters, to One World, an imprint of Random House. Publisher's Marketplace describes the novel as "following a fierce network of Black women spies in Civil War-era New Orleans, who undermine, sabotage, and eventually overthrow the Confederates, centering a fearless protagonist, who finds spiritual and sexual liberation while claiming freedom for herself and her community." The American Daughters follows Ruffin's story collection The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You, which was chosen as the 2023 One Book One New Orleans selection. One Book One New Orleans is a citywide reading and literacy campaign that chooses one book per year to be read by New Orleans residents at the same time. The campaign works with nonprofits to increase literacy, remove any barriers to access of the book, and develops programming inspired by the book selection throughout the year. Ruffin has called the selection of The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You, which was longlisted for The Story Prize in 2022, "one of the great honors of my life."
Ariel Francisco published work in The New Yorker, The Indianapolis Review, and South Florida Poetry Journal, and curated and introduced a folio of international writing for the latest issue of Tupelo Quarterly. Francisco's translation of a poem by Bolivian poet Melissa Sauma, published in the print journal Denver Quarterly, was nominated for the anthology series, Best Literary Translations 2024. Francisco was included in the anthology 100 Poems That Matter, compiled by The Academy of American Poets.