Prof Julie Schumacher, Winner of the 2015 Thurber Prize
For the week of October 11, 2015
Julie Schumacher, Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota, won this year’s Thurber Prize for American Humor for her novel “Dear Committee Members.” The story is told entirely through a curmudgeonly professor’s letters of recommendation. Schumacher discusses writing the book as well as her own experiences in academia.
- Part 1
Part 1 (1:15) Winning the Thurber Prize; (2:02) The epistolary novel style; (3:15) The novel’s protagonist, Jason Fitger, estimates he has written over 1,300 letters of recommendation; (4:30) Writing a curmudgeonly character like Jason Fitger; (5:38) The source of Fitger’s prickliness; (7:02) The fun in writing a character like Fitger; (7:58) Fitger’s rebellion against online forms; (9:15) Challenges facing liberal arts
- Part 2
Part 2 (:18) The importance of art and why students still pursue liberal arts degrees; (1:33) The flexibility of a liberal arts degree; (2:45) The impact of social media on writing; (3:48) With the speed of technology, Schumacher tries to teach students to slow down; (5:15) Popular sci-fi and fantasy literature; (6:10) Advice for students hoping to pursue literature and writing; (6:58) Arts vs technology in early education; (10:20) Writing for children vs writing for adults; (11:59) The books and authors Schumacher is currently reading