Professor/Chair, Department of English
AUTHOR

Mark West

Mark de Castrique, Man of Mysteries

Mark de Castrique, one of Charlotte’s most prolific writers of mysteries, recently brought out his 19th novel.  Titled Murder in Rat Alley, this novel is the 7th in his Sam Blackman Series.  For more information about Murder in Rat Alley and Mark’s other books, please click on the following link:  http://www.markdecastrique.com

In most of Mark’s mysteries, there is no clear line demarcating the past and the present.  Events that happened long ago often have...

Two Peas in a Pod, One in a Podcast

When I used to teach writing courses many years ago, I advised my students to avoid clichés.  Back then I saw clichés as being hackneyed and unoriginal.  However, as the years have gone by, I have become more accepting of clichés.  I find that when I stop and think about a cliché, it often evokes a memory or a compelling image.  Such is the case with the cliché “two peas in a pod.”   My parents always grew peas in their large vegetable garden,...

Mister Gavin Edwards’ Neighborhood

I didn’t know that Gavin Edwards lives in Charlotte when I spotted his book Kindness and Wonder:  Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever while shopping at Park Road Books the other day.  The store has a special display of their bestselling nonfiction books, and that’s where I saw Edwards’ book.  The cover features a photograph of Mister Rogers wearing his iconic red, cardigan sweater, and the photograph called out to me.  Being a longtime fan...

Charlotte’s Publishers

As an English professor, I am one of the unfortunate people who is expected to keep up the Modern Language Association’s ever-changing rules about citing sources.  I usually adjust to these changes without much complaint, but there is one change that made its appearance in the latest edition of the MLA Handbook that bothers me.  This change relates to how we are supposed to deal with the publisher of a book that is included on our works cited list.  Under the...

Storied Charlotte: Celebrating the Stories and Storytellers of Charlotte

Charlotte, Carson McCullers, and Harry Golden — Welcome to the inaugural post of Storied Charlotte, my new blog about the stories and storytellers of Charlotte.  Storied Charlotte is an outgrowth of my Monday Missive, a blog I wrote during the seven and a half years that I served as the chair of UNC Charlotte’s Department of English.  When I stepped down as chair in December 2019, I drew the curtain on my Monday Missive.  Since then, numerous people have...

For the Love of Libraries

For the Love of Libraries— Since National Library Week runs from April 19 through April 25, now is a fitting time to celebrate the many ways in which the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library contributes to Charlotte’s community of readers and writers.  Even though all of the library branches are closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, our public library is still providing online support to area readers and writers, and the library is still participating in National...

In the Words of Two Charlotte Poets

Charlotte’s community of readers and writers is reeling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.  We have seen the recent cancelations or postponements of Sensoria, the Center City Literary Festival, many library events, and a number of book signings and readings by local writers.  However, the coronavirus cannot stop the National Poetry Month, which takes place each April (https://poets.org/national-poetry-month).  It is fitting, therefore,...

Patrice Gopo, Tommy Tomlinson, and Sensoria

One of the great strengths of Charlotte’s community of writers is that it usually makes room for newcomers.  Even in the 1950s, Harry Golden, a Jewish activist from New York City, found Charlotte to be a conducive place to pursue his writing career.   Nowadays, writers from many different places have set their roots in Charlotte, and Charlotte’s cultural scene is richer as a result of this infusion of talent.  Two notable examples are Patrice Gopo and Tommy Tomlinson. ...

Park Road Books and Dr. Seuss

I love visiting Park Road Books, and I love reading Dr. Seuss’s stories aloud to children.  Drawing on these two loves of mine, I joined forces with Park Road Books to organize our annual Seuss-a-Thon, an event that is now in its 9th year.  This year’s Seuss-a-Thon will take place on February 29 (Saturday) at Park Road Books (4139 Park Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  At the Seuss-a-Thon, local educators and literacy advocates will participate...

Monday Missive – December 16, 2019

Turning Over the Keys —  On August 1, 2012, I began serving as the Interim Chair of the English Department, and on August 6 of that year, I sent out my very first Monday Missive.  Since then I have sent you a Monday Missive every week.  The only exceptions have been during the weeks when UNC Charlotte has been closed for the holidays and one week in March 2017 when Jen Munroe wrote the Monday Missive because I was hospitalized.  I did some quick calculations, and I am pretty...