Looking Back–Looking Ahead

It’s been an amazing year in my writing, teaching, and reading lives, and I can’t wait for 2016. In fact, for a while now, I’ve been writing 2016 when I write down the date. That’s how much I’m looking forward to it. But first, a look back at 2015.

I have been busy completing two books as well as writing four online pieces and one very long overview of American literary regionalism for a scholarly reference book. I taught some wonderful classes this year as well. My favorite has to be “American Women’s Travel Narratives” because it brought me to Cork, Ireland. My daughter and I spent four weeks In Ireland (getting out of Cork as often as we could) before joining my husband for a two-week trip in Ireland and England. Some of our favorite sights:


Blarney Castle–We climbed to the top, but we didn’t kiss the stone. The views and the grounds were the real attraction.


Mizen Head–I could have looked out at the waves all day.


Dromberg Stone Circle–Not Stonehenge, but more impressive in some ways because so quiet and isolated.


A cup of tea on the Dingle Peninsula. The view alone has remained in my memory, but that was also where I received a phone call from the States telling me that I had won an NEH Public Scholar Award, so that spot will always be doubly special to me.

The course I taught in Cork was also amazing.  Of the many interesting books we read–set in Ireland, England, France, and Italy–these were my favorites:

In the fall, back home in New Orleans, I taught a really amazing class on “Becoming Women: The Female Bildungsroman.” I think I loved every book, and we had such wonderful discussions about each of them, but these were perhaps the biggest hits:


In the year ahead I won’t be teaching at all (because of that NEH award). I will miss my students and our class discussions, but I will also be starting something new and exciting. On January 1, I will begin work on my next book, Reading Little Women. So there will be a lot of reading in the coming year: everything Alcott and Little Women, but also other female Bildungsromane, about which I am doing a Classics Club reading challenge (more to come on that very soon).

Perhaps the most important event I am looking forward to (and why I have been writing 2016 for the date already) is the launch of my two books:

They both come out February 29. A book launch reading at Octavia Books in New Orleans is set for March 3, and readings in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New York are scheduled for the week of Mar. 21. I’ll be updating the Events page of my website with more as they are scheduled.  I look forward to sharing the whole publication journey here on my blog, in my newsletter, and on Facebook and Twitter.  Now on to 2016!


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