Today’s world looks increasingly like an imagined dystopian future

Today’s world looks increasingly like an imagined dystopian future

BY RENN ELKINS ’ 20

“The future looks a lot like the past,” declares Esther Little, an enigmatic, semi-mortal woman of astounding psychic power, in the latter half of David Mitchell’s “The Bone Clocks.” She warns that “power grids [will] start failing in the late 2030s,” and that this is the “inevitable result [...] of population growth and lies about oil reserves.” 

Haroon Moghul speaks about new book at Eid Celebration

Haroon Moghul speaks about new book at Eid Celebration

BY DUR-E-MAKNOON AHMED ’20

Author Haroon Moghul delivered a keynote speech and signed copies of his new book “How to Be Muslim: An American Story,” on the Sept. 15 Eid Celebration in Chapin auditorium. Moghul was received by a vibrant gathering of students from all of the five colleges. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, this time in collaboration with the Odyssey Bookshop, annually hosts a dinner and keynote speaker to mark the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha, which fell on Sept. 1 this year.

Claudia Rankine discusses Mount Holyoke common read

Claudia Rankine discusses Mount Holyoke common read

BY SARAH CAVAR ’19

Mount Holyoke College welcomed Claudia Rankine, author of “Citizen: An American Lyric” to campus on Sept. 5. Amidst the lingering buzz of excitement from the day’s convocation festivities, Rankine received a warm welcome from attendees in a packed Chapin Auditorium. 

Children’s Literature Series hosts author Patricia MacLachlan

BY RENN ELKINS’20

On Thursday, April 6, the Mount Holyoke College English department hosted the penultimate speaker in its children’s literature speaker series, Patricia MacLachlan, author of an impressive arsenal of both picture books and children’s novels, including the Newbery winner “Sarah, Plain and Tall” and its sequels. 

Newbery Award winner Grace Lin visits Mount Holyoke

BY RILEY GUERRERO ’20

Write what you know” is perhaps the most feared piece of advice given to young authors. However, it was exactly this that lead to the first book of what would eventually become Grace Lin’s impressive bibliography. Lin, who concluded the Childrens Literature Series presentations last week, graduated from art school with aspirations to be a children’s book illustrator, Lin submitted her portfolio to editors across the country for years, but received virtually no call-backs. This all changed with a fateful phone call from a small-time editor who enjoyed her work, but felt that the images already had their own stories. Perhaps these were stories that she should write herself, and if she ever did, he said he would be happy to take a look at them. Thus, “The Ugly Vegetables” was born, followed by picture books, early-reader novels, poetry collections, folktales and realistic fiction, all borne of two decades of work, research and drawings.

Childrens’ writer Mordicai Gerstein visits Mount Holyoke

Childrens’ writer Mordicai Gerstein visits Mount Holyoke

“I have never dreamed of being a writer.”

These were the words that opened the compelling, inspiring and highly entertaining lecture delivered on Thursday, Feb. 16, by acclaimed children’s fiction writer Mordicai Gerstein. Gerstein’s visit was the first of a series hosted by Mount Holyoke College’s English department, which is set to feature several other authors of children’s literature in the coming weeks. 

(Double)think before you speak: 1984’s reflection of modern politics

(Double)think before you speak: 1984’s reflection of modern politics

Doublethink, perhaps one of the most famous portmanteaus to come out of Orwell’s magnum opus “1984,” has taken on a far too literal meaning in 2017’s America. Regardless of one’s political opinions it is impossible to deny that the recent election and the incoming administration have been defined by fake news, denial of truths, silencing of alternative voices and the destruction of evidence. 

Philip Pullman to release “His Dark Materials” companion series

Philip Pullman to release “His Dark Materials” companion series

After 17 years, the first book in a much-anticipated companion series to the “His Dark Materials” trilogy is set to be released in October 2017. The HDM trilogy has received international acclaim in the years since its release, as has its author, Philip Pullman. Pullman, a decorated author and current president of Britain’s Society of Authors, has long been known for his vocal humanism, political involvement and successful two-decade writing career, has until recently been nearly silent about the prospect of a companion series.

Why hating poetry is the best way to love it

BY DUR-E MAKNOON AHMED '20

My relationship with poetry has always been strange. I grew up reading my mom’s copies of Shakespeare and Robert Browning. As a child, I would watch my parents listen to nationalist poems set to music and debate with each other about meanings and significance of powerful couplets by the eminent Urdu poet Iqbal. In this environment, I subconsciously assumed that I had to love poetry.

All people deserve representation in curricula

All people deserve representation in curricula

BY SARAH CAVAR '20 

English class curricula are fairly predictable in their homogeneity, especially prior to college-level courses. Throughout my high school career, despite two Advanced Placement English classes and four years’ worth of excellent teachers, our curriculum sorely lacked diverse representation. To my knowledge, of all of the assigned works I read throughout high school, less than 10 were authored by someone who was not a white man. Less than five were authored by women of color. There was no LGBTQ+ representation, and very little representation of any non-Western nations or cultures.

Why don’t we write more?

BY RILEY GUERRERO '20 

Two months ago, I walked into the org fair with my head held high, a self-imposed limit of four (maybe five) orgs already set, and any conception of reasonable time-management already down the drain. Of all the surprises that awaited me under the packed white tent, including but naturally not limited to Korean martial arts clubs, roleplaying troupes and more language clubs than I had even imagined, I was struck by the revelation that besides the school’s literary magazine, there was no club dedicated to creative or transformative writing. This was an alien concept to me, as my high school had a relatively popular Aspiring Authors’ Club. Where that fell short for the sort of fiction I was writing, I joined other groups online. Considering the wide variety of other clubs that Mount Holyoke boasts and the emphasis put on advertising ourselves as the alma mater of Emily Dickinson, I had expected to be able to pick my favorite out of a few writing groups.

“Harry Potter” and the never-ending universe expansion

BY RILEY GUERRERO '20

More than just a children’s story, the “Harry Potter” series became synonymous with childhood itself for many people around the world. I remember when I unwrapped the seventh book on Christmas nine years ago, my heart racing with anxiety over what I was sure was the final chapter and my last glimpse into the magical wizarding world.

Oh, how wrong I was.

November is NaNoWriMo

BY SARAH CAVAR '20

“Write a novel? In a month?”

When I first heard about the existence of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, this was my skeptical first thought. That, and, “What a tedious acronym.” However, for many people across the country, and around the world, NaNoWriMo is a kind of religion. The objective of this month-long event? Complete a 50,000 word-long novel in just thirty days — a goal that, to many people, seems bizarre and impossible.

New Oxford Shakespeare to credit Marlowe as coauthor

BY RENN ELKINS '20

On Oct. 23 and 24, an eye-catching headline blared across the pages of several renowned news sources, including the New York Times, the Guardian, and NPR: William Shakespeare’s contemporary Christopher Marlowe will be credited as coauthor of the three-part “Henry VI” cycle in the New Oxford Shakespeare publication of the Bard’s collected works.  

Upcoming TV adaptation of “American Gods” shows promise: New show to hit screens in early 2017

BY RENN ELKINS ’20

It’s no secret within the realm of fantasy devotees that the upcoming television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel “American Gods” is the most anticipated page-to-screen adaptation of darkly humored contemporary mythology since, well, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” With a production crew consisting of executive producers Michael Green (“Heroes,” “Kings”), Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal,” “Pushing Daisies”) and, of course, Gaiman himself, the anticipation is well-deserved — and, unlike in the case of 2010’s tragic butchering of Rick Riordan’s YA novel, the buildup is nearly guaranteed to culminate in a piece of television that actually does justice to its source material.

Stephen King’s “IT” returns to scare a new generation

BY RILEY GUERRERO '20

The newest “IT” movie, based on the novel by Stephen King, has recently begun filming. The film is set to come out in 2017, and though the initial reaction of any fan is to reject unnecessary changes by corporate media, we must consider, especially with this particular story, what should be changed for the newest iteration in theaters

In celebration of Stephen King, an iconic writer for 50 years

In celebration of Stephen King, an iconic writer for 50 years

BY KATE FLAHERTY '19

  October is a special time of the year, considered by many to be the heart of the fall season. It’s the month when everyone begins to drink pumpkin-flavored beverages, when the leaves begin to turn into papery pieces of gold and garnet and scary movies become the norm. However, it is impossible to experience the spookiest month of the year without acknowledging the author who snatched the horror genre by the reins and turned it over its head, creating some of the most well known horror stories of all time.