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The Department of English Language and Literature welcomes you! We are a diverse department in which English studies is broadly conceived: We offer courses in literature, creative writing, linguistics, rhetoric, and secondary English education. Courses in our department also span time periods and genres: you can study Chaucer and Steampunk, Shakespeare and Morrison, classical Greek and endangered languages, African American poetry and global literature, the rhetoric of Aristotle and of videogames, poetry writing and flash fiction. We are proud of the fact that many of our faculty have won teaching awards and that all of our faculty members are committed to being strong, innovative classroom teachers.


  • Writer David Wright will be reading from his novel-in-progress on Tuesday, October 15, at 5 p.m. in the Cougar Store. David's first book, Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, was a New Yorker notable selection and one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Best Books of 2001. His YA novel, Away Running, about the 2005 Paris riots, was named a 2017 Outstanding International Book by the US Board on Books for Young People and to the Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS reading list. He has received awards from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters and the National Association of Black Journalists, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in The Village VoiceCallaloo, The Kenyon ReviewNewsdayThe Chronicle of Higher Education, and elsewhere. He's currently a professor at the University of Illinois.
  • The MFA in Creative Writing launched in the Fall of 2018.   The MFA is designed for students interested in pursuing the art of writing fiction or poetry and is especially tailored to students who are interested in exploring a variety of career paths.
  • Congratulations to Jessica DeSpain, Kristine Hildebrandt, Jill Anderson, Ben Ostermeier, and Katie Knowles, who just received an NEH grant to work on "Conversation Toward a Brighter Future" with the Mannie Jackson Center in Edwardsville.  Go IRIS!
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