Manola checked in with us last week as she was making plans for graduating next month. In an email, she described her experiences in the English Department and beyond.
“I’ve loved SPU’s English major for expanding my understanding of and experiences with literature,” Manola said. “My favorite classes, like The Sentence, The Essay, and Latinx Literature, were those that introduced me to authors I might not have otherwise encountered. I love digging into details, and classes like these also allowed me to explore what classes with broader themes may have only skimmed.”
Last summer, Manola talked her way into a paying internship at the environmentalist media outlet Grist. “I’m majoring in both English Creative Writing and Communications Journalism,” Manola explained, “so writing for Grist allowed me to fulfill a lot of the personal aspirations that fueled my desire to complete both majors.
“Grist focuses specifically on covering issues of environmental justice and, as a contributor to their newsletter, I had the chance to search for stories related to that theme on a daily basis. I also had the chance to work with writers I admire, so having them as mentors helped my own writing develop quickly. It’s an experience I’m so grateful to have had, especially as it was one that allowed me to help others through the writing of stories, and it’s inspired me to pursue stories related to environmental justice in the future.”
What’s next for Manola? “I’m aiming for a journalism-related fellowship at the moment, but generally, I’m freelancing and pursuing a career in online journalism. On the side, I’m hoping to start submitting short stories to contests or publications. So, basically, I’m excited to be doing a lot of writing for the foreseeable future.”
Thanks for letting the department know what you’ve been up to, Manola, and see you at Ivy Cutting!
English major Allison DeBoer has won third prize in the student critical-essay category among submissions for the 11th biennial Lewis and Friends Colloquium, sponsored by the Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends. This year’s theme for the meeting is “The Faithful Imagination.” Allison will deliver her paper at the colloquium, which will take place at Taylor University from May 31st to June 3rd.
Lindsay Olson (’07, English creative writing major) recently checked in with the department, catching us up on her considerable accomplishments. Upon graduation, Lindsay got a job right away as a children’s specialist in a small public library in Colorado Springs, CO. “For five years,” Lindsay reports, “I worked for the library in both the children’s and teen departments, and I loved every moment of it!”
But the publishing world called to Lindsay, so “when an opportunity to work for a small division of Penguin Random House came up, I jumped at the chance,” she says. “I worked in publicity and marketing for two imprints of PRH for several years before taking a chance on my own work and leaving my formal job to become a freelance editor and writer. My most exciting project was being asked to write reader discussion guides for new editions of classic spiritual writings by Madeleine L’Engle.”
In her spare time, Lindsay “probably wrote five or six novels—none of them any good. But, finally, I began work on a story that had been brewing for several years in my heart.” Two years later, that novel led to Lindsay’s first publishing contract.
Since then, Lindsay has quit her freelancing and focused exclusively on her writing life. “I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and am part of a team planning events at local bookstores in the Bay Area, where I now live,” she tells us.
Looking back on her time at SPU, Lindsay has recognized some things her alma mater, and the English Department in particular, offered her. “When I was a student, I used to chuckle whenever we heard the SPU motto (which was a lot): engaging the culture, changing the world. It was everywhere, and at the time seemed a little cheesy to me. But as I’ve moved through the last ten or eleven years, I’ve come to understand those words so differently. In the world of writing—and specifically in writing for children—the SPU motto is incredibly relevant.”
Lindsay adds that “SPU not only gave me the motto, it also taught me so much about the craft of my work.” She continues, “I’ll confess that, all these years later, I still have many of the text books I used during my time in the English Department, too. They sit on a shelf in my office, and continue to be resources of inspiration and education for me.”
In sum, Lindsay states, “I see traces of SPU just about everywhere I turn in my life!” We are glad to have served you well, Lindsay, and are proud to have helped make you a successful author.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Come join Students for Middle East Peace for a film screening of “In the Image: Palestinian Women Capture the Occupation.” This is a great opportunity to learn for the first time or more about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This film showcases the daily lives of Palestinian women living in the West Bank, using video as a form of nonviolent protest.