Welcome Back!

 Dear English Department students,

Welcome back, and a special welcome to first-year and newly declared English majors just joining us for the first time! It feels exciting (and a bit intimidating) to contemplate gathering again in our classrooms for the first time since the pandemic erupted. As we’ve prepared to re-open our suite on the 6th Floor of Phillips Hall and to begin planning for events, both in-person and virtual, we’ve been galvanized by a sense of the energy you bring to campus and by our shared commitment to make your experience in English a truly valuable one.
We have already on the docket a series of readings, sponsored through our Jenny McKean Moore Reading Series program, that you’ll want to put on your calendars. All will be offered via zoom, something that we learned last year makes it easier for more people to attend. This series brings incredibly talented writers to our community for readings and vibrant conversation. Please do join us! Here is the line-up for Fall 2021.
September 22nd, 5:30 pm: A reading by Airea Dee Matthews (poetry)
October 14th, 6:30 pm: A reading by Margaret & David Talbot (creative nonfiction)
November 18th, 6:30 pm: A reading by James Han Mattson (fiction)
In addition, Professor Annie Liontas and some of our current Creative Writing majors are organizing an event called Thunder & Lightning to showcase student writing and cultivate lively exchange. It will be fun! This event is scheduled for Dec. 2nd, and more details on location and timing will come later this semester.
We are also in the midst of planning a community event around a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that will be live-streamed by the Globe Theater on Saturday, September 25th at 2:00 pm. Be on the lookout for more information on this and a planned “talkback” session as we work out arrangements.
On that note, we will use many tools available to us to communicate to share information, but we rely on you to check your email regularly and, if possible, to follow us on our blog (https://gwenglish.org/), on twitter (@gwengl), on facebook (@GWUEnglish) and on Instagram (@gwuenglish). I am always available the old-fashioned way, too! Contact me at mfrawley@gwu.edu with any questions or concerns or to schedule a phone call or meeting, whether face-to-face or via zoom.
Although we are going into the semester full of energy and optimism, the past year has shown us how quickly things change, in matters of public health and much more. I was so pleased to see in recent messaging from Interim Provost Christopher Bracey a call that we at GWU work together toward a culture of empathy during our transition back to campus. He also emphasized the need to foster a diverse and inclusive environment and encouraged all of us “to work together to provide space and support for each other as we fight for justice and accountability.” Worthy and inspiring goals for all of us!
All the very best for a safe and rewarding academic year. 
Maria Frawley

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