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A Message from the Chair

How to understand subjectivities remote from one’s own in time, space, or social location? How to evaluate divergent interpretations of the same text or utterance? How to reconcile cultural sensitivity with freedom of expression?

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If you need to speak with someone in the department, please call 847-491-7294, or email us.
Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey was announced as one of the winners of The Cleveland Foundation’s  86th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards for her book, Memorial Drive.  The awards recognize books that have made important contributions to the understanding of racism and human diversity.  Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book awards in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for social justice.

Kelly Wisecup has received the 2021-22 Newberry Consortium in American Indian and Indigenous Studies/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship for her project “Indigenous Anthologizing in the Great Lakes.”  More about the NCAIS can be found here.

Kasey Evans, Kelly Wisecup
English Department Professors Kasey Evans and Kelly Wisecup, along with Professor Marcela A. Fuentes, have been named the 2021 recipients of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Innovation.

They will develop new curricula aimed at reframing British and American literature through a transatlantic lens and also exploring how performance artworks were created and consumed during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Pulter Project receives MLA Award

The Modern Language Association of America has announced the winner of the twelfth Modern Language Association Prize for Collaborative, Bibliographical, or Archival Scholarship. The prize will be presented to Professors Leah Knight, of Brock University, and Wendy Wall from our own department here at Northwestern, for The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, a project created in tandem with Northwestern’s Media and Design Studio.  Information about the award, and the significance of the project, can be found here.

Our Programs





Litowitz MFA+MA in English and Creative Writing

This program offers intimate classes, the opportunity to pursue both creative and critical writing, and close mentorship by renowned faculty in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Our three-year curriculum gives students time to deepen both their creative writing and their study of literature. Students complete two degrees concurrently --an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English.

Apply to the MFA+MA Program

MA in English Literature

Designed to be completed in one year and flexible in its requirements, our Master's in Literature allows students considerable freedom in choosing courses in English and in related disciplines. Most are planning to move on to Doctoral study elsewhere, improve their credentials as teachers in secondary schools and community colleges, or to take their experience into the business and publishing sectors.

Apply to the Master's Program

PhD in English Literature

Our PhD program offers advanced study and research in literary history, criticism, and theory, with excellent opportunities for study between both disciplines and departments. Courses within the department cover major genres, periods, authors, and a broad range of methodological and theoretical approaches. Significant support in professional development and on the job market are cornerstones of the program.

Apply to the Doctoral Program

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Biss and Trethewey both represented in Time Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
Trethewey, Biss, Webster, and Dybek named to NewCity's 2020 Lit 50
Two essays by Lauren Jackson published in The New Yorker

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