Last Wednesday, nine BU English majors were inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors Society. Family, faculty, and friends gathered to watch the cording ceremony. After opening remarks by Sigma Tau Delta sponsor Dr. Charmion Gustke, the honorees were corded by faculty members. Congratulations to these wonderful English majors!
This past Monday in the Frist Lecture Hall, nine English majors were honored at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Awards Day.
The James and Sara King Award, given to “students who have submitted outstanding papers in response to a class assignment” were won by Charlotte Payne, Tom Ebner, and Ben Thomas.
The Ruby P. Treadway Award, given to outstanding students in creative writing, went to Sheyanne Meadows and Audrey Fenstermaker.
Kameron Johnson and Sydney Queen were both honored with The Corinne Dale Award for Achievement in Writing about Gender.
Finally, Rachel Petty won the Virginia Chaney Award, given annually to the outstanding female English major, while Andrew Cox won the Carl Chaney Award, designating the outstanding male English major.
Congratulations to all these outstanding BU English majors!
On Tuesday, September 26, bestselling author and recent Carnegie Medal recipient Ruta Sepetys spoke to an intimate gathering of BU English majors. Over the course of ninety minutes, she regaled aspiring writers with inspiring stories of her transition from the music business into life as a hugely successful young adult novelist
Sepetys, the author of Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea, began by explaining how her 22 years in the music industry telling others’ stories through writing press releases and artist biographies led eventually to the realization that she had her own story to tell. As a child of a Lithuanian refugee who had fled from his home in 1940, she knew part of that story through her father, whose harrowing tales of last-minute escapes and of long years in refugee camps–and of their relatives who did not make it out alive–gave her a starting point for what eventually became her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, which has been translated into 37 languages and published in 53 countries.
The successful publication of her Between Shades of Gray, however, had its own long history, including the emotionally difficult research involving interviews with survivors of Stalin’s takeover; the 16 painstaking revisions she undertook before submission; the excruciating wait before hearing from publishers after submission; and the 4 year additional wait between selling the novel and its publication in 2011.
Sepetys also discussed the value of archives in historical research, but emphasized the importance in making human connections, like the garrulous retired New Orleans mobster she interviewed for her second novel, Out of the Easy. “Hunting for hidden histories,” as she termed it, also led her to the subject of her most recent novel, Salt to the Sea, which chronicles Germany’s Operation Hannibal during World War II and the single largest maritime disaster in human history.
For Ruta Sepetys, “telling stories for the true witnesses” has become her life’s calling. Throughout her talk and the question and answer session that followed, she emphasized finding her literary voice and rhythm; being open about what she is working on (it has helped her find people and resources she needed); revising continually, even while she is doing readings of her own work; and, most importantly of all for aspiring writers, “getting my butt in the chair” to produce good work.
On December 7, at an English Department gathering, ten Belmont University students were recognized as Colloquium Scholars for their participation in the inaugural Humanities Symposium Colloquium. Honored participants were required to read a common text, attend at least three of the four talks in this year’s series, and submit a written reflection on their takeaways. The 2016 Colloquium focused on “Issues in Digital Humanities” and addressed Amy Earheart’s monograph, Traces of the Old, Uses of the New: The Emergence of Digital Literary Studies.
(Front, L to R): Jamelia Hatchett, Lindsay Hunnicutt, Jackie Karneth, Breanne Lampert.
(Back, L to R): Brooke Massey, Andrew Cox, Joseph Dierkes, Anna Hayman.
(Not pictured, honored in absentia): Naomi Bartlett, Devin Bradbury.
On November 20th, at the home of Dr. Bonnie Whitehouse, the following students were inducted to the Belmont chapter of Sigma Tau Delta: Samantha Binnie, Anna Clark, Micaela Cuellar, Zenna Daker, Allison Gospel, Anna Hayman, Steven Henry, Lindsay Hunnicutt, Jacqueline Karneth Hannah McClure, Michael Meadows, Kendal Miller, Emily Minarik, Amanda Nicklaus, Ashley Sanders, Katie Schmitt, Natalie Souza, Chris Tully, Naomi Weigand, and Aubrey Downing. The ceremony was lead by Dr. Charmion Gustke (faculty sponsor), Lauren Bellatti (President), Hope Moore (Vice-president) and Kathleen Albritton (secretary).
Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University. The Society strives to confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies, serving society by fostering literary. With over 880 active chapters located in the United States and abroad, there are more than 1,000 Faculty Sponsors, and approximately 9,000 members inducted annually. Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.