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English Undergraduate Student Community


Whether you have already declared your English Major, or are interested in exploring, we invite you to participate in our activities. All English students are assured to have small workshops and intensive focus on their writing as well as the opportunity to submit manuscripts for the publication in the department's two literary magazines. Graduate students publish in national literature journals, and many place books before or soon after completing the program.

Get Involved

Proof Rock Reading Series

Stay tuned for our last Proof Rock Event, which will also be the launch party for our new literary journal, The Canticle.

Guest Writer Series

In partnership with the SLC Arts Council, The English Department is hosting exemplary guest writers to read from their work.  The readings are held through the 2019 - 2020 school year at the Finch Lane Art Gallery on Thursdays at 7 p.m.  A reception to meet the writers follows each reading.

Working Dog

We invite all undergraduate students to attend these readings.

The Canticle

The Canticle is the University of Utah's undergraduate literary journal, created out of the desire to craft a literary space for the unusual, the unique, the upcoming, and the unearthed. We are proud to support untapped creative minds and create a venue for their work to reach the universe.

Undergraduate Literary Conference

The English Student Advisory Committee will host its annual undergraduate literary conference on April 4th, 2016 at 6:30pm in LNCO 2110. 
Winners have been selected to present their works under the categories of critical essays, fiction/nonfiction, and poetry. We invite everyone to attend and hear these exceptional pieces of work and to learn more about getting involved in the English Department.

Pages Book Club

Bringing book-loving University of Utah students together to discuss novels of various genres. Our objective is to create a welcoming environment for University of Utah bookworms, foster great discussions, and inspire members to read books they might not have otherwise encountered. Our support is behind our local book stores and libraries.

Hivemind Book Club of Salt Lake City

Hivemind is a new city-wide book club that meets once a month to discuss a book by (and sometimes with) visiting writers from the University of Utah Creative Writing Program's Guest Writers Series, the Utah Humanities Book Festival, and Westminster College's reading series. All events are free and open to the public. Find Hivemind Book Club on facebook to rsvp and for more information on future meetings.

English Student Advisory Committee

The English Student Advisory Committee is an organization of undergraduate students interested in involving themselves in the workings of the department. As representatives of the department's undergraduate majors, members of the committee contribute to assessments for faculty promotion, retention, and tenure reviews. The ESAC community also organizes readings by faculty and students, coordinates workshops about employment and prospects for graduate work in English and other fields and organizes an undergraduate literary conference. Contact the English Department Office for information about joining ESAC.

Learn about our ESAC members

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honors Society. We are priveliged to have our own chapter here at the University of Utah and invite all English majors to apply.  Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature. Members of the local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta combine their efforts with the English Student Advisory Committee to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to connect with majors outside of the classroom and promote the discipline. Applications for membership are available in the English Department Office.

Cody's Corner

Suggested Readings

Long Walk to Freedom –Nelson Mandela

No book list about books from Africa would be complete without this Autobiography. There really isn’t much anyone can say about this novel other than “Go read it now!” The writing is superb, and it chronicles the story of Mandela from when he was a young man to his release from jail.

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze- Maaza Mengiste

Set in Ethiopia just before the violent upheavals of the 1970s this story is about family, and how people react to the horrors of the cold war era nightmares. There isn’t too much to say about this one, but it is a really powerful piece that I think everyone should read to understand just how similar we are in our heads and hearts.

Half of a Yellow Sun- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Set during the Nigerian Civil War which happened from 1967-70 this story examines the role of war, as well as the role of Africa in this new, post colonial world. It is a bit extreme at times, but I think the frank nature which Adichie addresses the conflict, and the impact on the characters in the book, makes for an incredibly powerful piece.

Season of Migration to the North- Tayeb Salih

This book is an interesting book out of Sudan about a man who bonds with another about their shared experience out of country. The friend of the main character explains his different conquests of English women, and their own infatuation with him as a novelty. The book examines the idea of colonialism, and the idea of “foreign” in this fascinating book.

The Memory of Love- Aminatta Forna

Set in both the 1960s and present day this novel seamlessly weaves together the past and present in a fantastic journey that will leave you gripped from start to finish. The character development feels natural and real, and really presses the question about the duty of witnesses of tragedy; are they meant to speak of it and pass that burden on or just keep it down so it is lost.

Broken Glass- Alain Mabanckou

Set in the Congo a man at a bar takes down the stories of people while secretly holding his own pain. However the stories become darn near impossible to take down perfectly, and it turns into something like a self mocking parody. Alain Mabanckou has a razor sharp wit, and the translation seems to carry that over well. It is currently cheap on amazon, so give it a look!

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier- Ishmael Beah

This book is the memoirs of a former child soldier from Sierra Leone. He describes the horrors of the war that he gets swept up in, and the frank discussion of the atrocities is enough to give you chills. This story has a thankfully happy ending. The author has actually written another book just this last year called Radiance of Tomorrow which may also be of interest.

 Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier - Alexandra Fuller

This book becomes a sort of wandering journey that pairs an unlikely pair together as they go to visit the sites of different conflicts in Africa. On one level it is a reconciliation piece, and yet Alexandra Fuller makes you feel sympathy for even the battle scarred soldier. On another level it is a fascinating story that reminds me of the classic hero’s narrative. Absolutely read this!

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa- Peter Godwin

An interesting perspective on Zimbabwe, and the slow spiral downward. A man goes to the nation after the death of his father to try and find out about his own identity, and while there we witness the fall of the country, and discover countless secrets about the family that keep your head spinning. Godwin has written several books, and since I don’t like listing multiple books by the same author if I can help it, I will just say check them out.

 My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience - Rian Malan

An autobiographical book about a man who was in exile from Africa because of his family. The author was related to one of the architects of apartheid, and when he returns he seeks redemption, truth, and his own way back to his “home”. A poetic end to the list, though since it has a pretty hopeful feel to it, so it is all in all a very interesting read. Understanding is all about perspectives really.

Last Updated: 2/25/20