The English Department works with joy and vigor to create a vibrant and creative intellectual environment on campus through exciting programming, orientations to guide our students into graduate schools and career, and rip-roaring social events.

Please check this page regularly to keep up with department happenings, which are almost always open to the broader community and public.

Timothy Libretti serving as editor of online magazine engendered

In October 2020, Tim Libretti (Acting Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one-time Chair of English) began serving as an editor for the online medium magazine Engendered, a publication featuring writing that explores the world through the lens of gender, with emphases on trauma, equality and accountability, power, and systems and transformation "through a gendered power lens." Tim's mission, as he has chosen to accept it, is to build a community through its pages, and he wants YOU to contribute your writing! 

Students, alumni, colleagues: if you are interested in publishing your writing in Engendered on the topic of your choice, reach out to Tim Libretti at

Check out their Submission Guidelines.

Ryan Poll JOins POPmatters as staff writer

In Spring 2020, Prof. Ryan Poll became a staff writer at PopMatters, an online, "international magazine of cultural criticism and analysis, which has been independently owned and operated since its inception. Our scope is broadly cast on all things pop culture and we are the largest site that bridges academic and popular writing in the world." Almost immediately, Ryan created the Reading Pandemics series now featured on the site, to which he continues to contribute. 

Ryan also established a one-credit English course for Fall 2020 to examine historical pandemics in literature (Love in the Time of COVID, anyone?), inclusive of several more English faculty, whose lectures were then published online.

PopMatters continues to seek writers, including students, alumni and colleagues. Check out their submission page.

Why should i be an english major?

Join this all-out department Zoom meeting to discover, discuss and decide what majoring in English would entail. Ask and hear directly from faculty what the advantages are of a concentration in Literature, Composition, Criticism or Creative Writing, and how these are solid grounding for a multitude of careers.

When: 10 a.m. Friday, March 12
Where: Online via Zoom
Contact: Tim Scherman,

The 82: writers reading - spring 2021 event

Join our Creative Writing Instructors, students and friends at The 82's Spring 2021 event, featuring three established, award-winning Chicago writers who will read from their own works and answer questions from attendees.

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 6
Where: Online via Zoom; email to request link
Contact: Olivia Cronk,

Guest Writers/Speakers

Tara Betts

Tara Betts is the author of "Break the Habit," "Arc & Hue," and the forthcoming "Refuse to Disappear." In addition to her work as a teaching artist and mentor for young poets, she has taught at several universities, including Rutgers University and University of Illinois-Chicago. Recently, she taught poetry workshops for three years at Stateville Prison via Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project. Tara is Poetry Editor at The Langston Hughes Review, and is also in the process of establishing the nonprofit organization The Whirlwind Learning Center on Chicago’s South Side.

Audrey Petty

Audrey Petty writes fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Her stories have been published in such journals as African American Review, StoryQuarterly, Callaloo, and The Massachusetts Review. She is the editor of "High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing" (Voice of Witness/McSweeney's) and co-editor of "The Long Term" (Haymarket Press). She has taught extensively in the fields of African American literature and creative writing. Formerly on faculty in the Creative Writing Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Knox College, she currently directs the Odyssey Project at Illinois Humanities.

Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata is a founding editor of MAKE Literary Magazine and the author of the novel "The Lost Book of Adana Moreau," winner of the 2020 Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction, finalist for the 2020 Heartland Booksellers Award in Fiction, and a Best Book of the Year for NPR, the A.V. Club, Los Angeles Public Library, and BookPage, among others. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction and the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program Award. He is on the core faculty of StoryStudio Chicago and the MFA faculty of Northwestern University.