The Chernin Program has become the Berkeley Connect Program, serving the entire campus. Please see the Berkeley Connect Website for more information; the information here is outdated.
The Chernin Mentoring Program aims to build stronger and more informal connections among undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Three faculty members and six graduate students will hold regular gatherings throughout the semester with small groups of undergraduate majors and undeclared students interested in the study of literature. The program began in the fall 2010 semester under the leadership of Professor Maura Nolan, and each semester more than 200 undergraduates have participated in the program.
These meetings will provide opportunities for open and flexible discussions of a host of intellectual, institutional, and practical issues and questions. We start with basic questions -- What is the English major? Why major in English? What kinds of reading do we do and why? -- as well as explorations of campus resources like the library, the Bancroft, and the art museum. Students will have the chance to exchange ideas about literary texts and literary criticism, as well as the opportunity to think in new and surprising ways about the Berkeley environment and literary study. Mentors will be available for one-on-one meetings to help with course selection or to answer questions like: Who should I talk to about American poetry, the Victorian novel, or Renaissance drama? What is the difference between a senior thesis and an honors thesis? Why do people go to grad school, or law school, or med school? What are the different things people do with a degree in English? Every semester, the Chernin Program will host a career panel, with Berkeley alumni in different professions, who will speak about how the English major has contributed to their careers.
In sum, the Mentorship Program opens up the extraordinary resources of the Berkeley community to the extraordinary students on our campus. It will help you to make the most of your English major and your time at Berkeley, while forging a community of like-minded faculty and students who have joined together to explore the possibilities of literary study.
Although this is not a traditional course, each participant will enroll in and earn one credit for an independent study (as English 98 or 198, on a Pass/NP basis). The program is not meant to offer extra help or tutoring on things like the mechanics of paper-writing or literary analysis; rather, it provides a more relaxed and fun way to make the best of your Berkeley experience.
Kathleen Donegan writes and teaches about literature and culture in early America, from New World encounters through the first decades of the republic. Her special interest is in the early seventeenth century settlement -- and un-settlement -- of English peoples on Native lands. Professor Donegan is currently completing a book entitled A Season of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement which investigates the relationship between suffering and violence in these outposts and contact zones and the role of misery in constituting colonial subjectivity, and which will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. She teaches courses on early American women writers; the American gothic; captivity, slavery and piracy; the colonial Atlantic world; racial formation in early America; and is working on an edited collection of colonial shipwreck narratives.
Nadia Ellis joined the Berkeley English Department in the Fall of 2008, after finishing her Ph.D at Princeton University. She writes about and teaches literature of the black diaspora, the postcolonial, the queer, and various intersections thereof. She plots migrant trajectories from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom to the United States; considers cities and archives (and cities as archives); and explores the politics and substance of affect. Enduring research questions surround the relationship between modernism and postcolonialism, performance and identity. More urgent ones involve the contestatory nature of black global culture and the material effects of spirituality. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Territories of the Soul: Ways to Belong in the Black Diaspora.
Eric Falci, the director of the Chernin Program, is an Associate Professor in the English Department, where he teaches courses on modern and contemporary British and Irish literature. He specializes in Irish and British poetry since World War II. His book on contemporary Irish poetry, Continuity and Change in Irish Poetry, 1966-2010, has just appeared from Cambridge University Press, and he has published several essays on recent Irish and British poetry. He is currently working on two projects: a book-length introduction to British poetry since 1945, under contract with Cambridge University Press, and a book on the conjunctions and disjunctions between poetry and music.
2013-2014 Chernin Fellows
Born and raised in California, Sarah Mangin attended Stanford University, where she majored in English and history. After graduation, she taught at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, moved north to earn her Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University, and then began teaching at local community colleges. Now a fifth-year English PhD student at Berkeley, Sarah is writing a dissertation on the legacy of religious autobiographies in the early English novel and the aesthetics of skepticism. Recently she has taught English R1A/B courses on the literature (and critiques) of the Enlightenment as well as Education 198 for incoming transfer students at Cal; last year she received the Outstanding GSI and Teaching Effectiveness awards. In her free time Sarah loves to swim in the Yuba River, play tennis, and perambulate the splendid gardens of the Bay Area.
Christopher Mead is in his seventh year of the English Ph.D. program. He was born and raised in Canada, having lived most recently in Montreal before coming out to California. His dissertation, “Eucharistic Authorship,” offers a new account of the relationship between religion and the book during the early modern period. It does so by unveiling the connection between print and the traditional Eucharist as it is expressed by Protestant authors struggling with the unfamiliar feeling of being in print. Chris suggests that these authors are drawn to the vocabulary and form of the Eucharist not only because it is a singularly powerful reproductive technology, but also because it provides them with the means to achieve their otherwise unattainable desire for martyrdom. While at Berkeley, he has taught courses on sacrifice, martyrdom, and the early modern family. Chris recently returned to Berkeley after spending the last year in London and is excited to be involved in this year’s Chernin Program.
Ella Tobin Mershon, known by a few avuncular types as E.T., known by a few sisterly types as Bella, was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite her deep and abiding pride in all things Kentucky, it was not the rolling hills of the bluegrass state that incited her love affair with books: it was the icy shores of the Alaskan coast. Bored by the endless parade of icebergs, a young Ella discovered and delighted in the simple and marvelous fact that books contained whole worlds that were not her own. This otherworldliness continues to delight and inspire her. In 2003, Ella received her B.A. in English and her B.S. in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. After college, she worked in non-profit fundraising management and immigration law before setting her heart on graduate school. In 2008, Ella received her M.A. in English from New York University. Now in her sixth year of the English Ph.D. program at Berkeley, Ella's dissertation investigates representations of decomposition across a broad spectrum of nineteenth-century texts in order to consider the narrative possibilities—the strange temporal distortions and slippages—opened up by the transformational power of decay. At Berkeley, she has taught courses on nineteenth-century detective fiction, the Gothic and the weird. She has also served as a GSI for several courses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature. As a UCB alumna and former undergraduate English major at Berkeley, Ella is thrilled to participate in the Chernin program this year. Go Bears!
R. D. Perry is a graduate student in English and Medieval Studies, with a designated emphasis in Critical Theory. He attended several universities before coming to the University of California, Berkeley. He transferred a couple of times before receiving a BA from the University of Georgia. He worked as a librarian there before returning to receive a MA. The last year of his Master’s program he spent at the University of Oxford. He came to Berkeley in 2009 and is now in his fifth year. Ryan is broadly interested in late-medieval English and French literature, especially the Chaucer tradition, but sometimes works well into the Tudor period. He is interested in late-medieval theology and philosophy as well, both on its own terms and as an intellectual background to modern philosophy. Furthermore, he works on critical theory, especially in the area of political theory, with a particular interest in Hannah Arendt. His dissertation investigates the way that the Hundred Years War occasions an increased interaction between English and French poets as the literary tradition centered on Geoffrey Chaucer develops. The issues the war raises about sovereignty, authority, and coterie affiliations are worked out in different, albeit related, ways in both the political and literary realms. He has published a short position-piece, titled “The Legitimacy of Medieval Dissent,” in a forum on dissent for the online publication postmedieval, found here: http://postmedieval-forum.com/forums/forum-iii-dissent/the-legitimacy-of-medieval-dissent-r-d-perry/. He has presented at conferences across the U. S. and Britain on topics ranging from Chaucer’s relation with his French contemporaries to the orthodox response to the Wycliffite heresy. When he is not reading and writing, he enjoys watching television and movies, cooking, and travel.
Samia Rahimtoola is a sixth-year student in the Berkeley English program. Her research focuses on 19th and 20th century American literature, poetry and poetics, and theorizing the ecological. Drawn to recluses, experimentalists, and utopians of all persuasions, her work surfaces social and ecological alternatives in the two radical American moments of Transcendentalism and mid-20th century experimentalism (Black Mountain, Fluxus, ‘60s radicalism). Her dissertation, provisionally titled “Post-WWII Poetry and the Figuring of Connection,” explores the intersections of poetry, politics and ecology to ask how poets imagined new modes of interconnection through poetic forms. Beginning with a close reading of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the dissertation then takes up three post-WWII American poets: Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and Lorine Niedecker. Before coming to Berkeley, Samia majored in English at Reed College, where she also concentrated on Physics. After graduating, she worked in economic and financial research for several years. Samia is also a poet. Her recent work thinks about movement, both physical and affective, in contemporary American life. At Berkeley, she has taught courses on 19th and 20th century Experimentalisms and American Art during the Cold War. She has also GSIedfor 117B and 45C.
Wendy Xin was raised in a small town in New Jersey, a fine state which she enjoys defending at length. She attended Washington University in St. Louis as an undergraduate, and majored in English as well as taking a business degree. After college she spent a year working as an editorial assistant at a New York publishing house, where she read many manuscripts and was in charge of brewing very strong (and she suspects pretty terrible) coffee. Wendy is a fifth year graduate student at Berkeley English, and her work focuses on nineteenth century British literature, early Code-era film, and theories of plot and character. Her dissertation, titled "Character and the Conspiracy of Form," examines figures of the transgressor, scoundrel, ruffian, and boor in works ranging from Emma and Great Expectations to Stage Fright, North by Northwest, and The Third Man and contests that the epistemology of narrative discourse counterintuitively finds its most apt reflection in the workings of the novelistic plotter, an argument that unfolds through readings of seemingly trivial details like Frank Churchill's hair and Abel Magwitch's prison uniform. At Berkeley she has taught courses on make-believe, fictionality, and the repetition compulsion, and has previously GSIed for 45A, 45C, and 125B. She has recently received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant, Outstanding GSI, and Teaching Effectiveness awards, and is thrilled to take part in the Chernin program this year.
Please visit the Berkeley Connect in English webpages for the Spring 2014 schedule:
The Chernin Mentoring Program is interested in helping students explore many aspects of academic study and professional preparation, including internships. What follows is a preliminary list of internship opportunities and funds for undergraduate archival work or conference travel that your mentors have researched or that your fellow Chernin students have held. The list is a work in progress, and you are our best resource! Please continue to send links and descriptions of internships that would be of interest to English majors.
A few tips:
ASUC Academic Opportunity Fund
Awards for undergraduate research and conference travel. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis by the ASUC Academic Affairs Office. Allocations are generally limited to $500 per event, though this amount may be waived under exceptional circumstances.
Center for British Studies Undergraduate Travel Grants for Conferences and Research (rolling deadline)
Funds undergraduate students to help finance travel to conferences and for research. Awards of $500 — $1,000 towards expenses (to be reimbursed after the event).
Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs (deadline 1/18/2013)
The Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs is a nine-month, post graduate leadership training program through which Fellows gain hands-on experience and access through work in the government, nonprofit, labor, political, and business sectors. Monthly stipends and financial aid are available.
The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics (deadline 12/3/2013)
Monetary awards ranging from $5,000 to $500 for essays writting on ethical issues. Registered juniors and seniors are eligible for the prize.
Haas Scholars Program (deadline 2/15/2013)
Funds financial aid eligible, academically talented UC Berkeley undergraduates to engage in a sustained research, field-study or creative project in the summer before and during their senior year at Berkeley. Each year, twenty Haas Scholars are selected from all disciplines and departments across the University on the basis of the merit and originality of their project proposals. $12,600 to do independent research.
Leslie Lipson Essay Prize (deadline 3/8/2013)
A $2,000 prize is awarded to students who submit winning essays on one of five topics related to humanistic values.
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships (deadline 3/5/2013)
The MMUF program at UC Berkeley prepares fellows to enter graduate school by funding research and building mentoring relationships with faculty. Students should have at least 4 semesters left at UC Berkeley when applying.
McNair Scholars Program (deadline 10/11/2012)
Competitive program to select UC Berkeley undergraduates for doctoral study. The program aims to increase numbers of groups underrepresented in doctoral programs.
Student Opportunity Funds (rolling deadline)
Funds for conference and research travel (excluding food and lodging).
Summer Research Opportunities Program (deadline 2/1/2013)
Paid summer research program. Special consideration will be given to applicants who have shown potential for success, but may have had limited access to graduate research or other academic opportunities. The program strongly encourages applications from undergraduates who have been educationally or economically disadvantaged, and who show potential to benefit from exposure to the environment of a research university.
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) (deadline 3/08/2013)
SURF offers summer stipends to support undergraduate students' concentrated research in preparation for a senior thesis or another major capstone research project. SURF awards will go to students who have an interesting research question, a well-conceived research plan, and clear faculty support. $2500 over one summer.
URAP is one of the best ways undergraduate English majors can connect with faculty, learn valuable research and archival skills, improve their resumes/scholarship applications, receive academic mentorship, and get a glimpse of what conducting a senior thesis or entering graduate school in the humanities will entail. The program pairs undergraduate students with faculty on research projects.
CalCorps Public Service Center
Founded in 1967 by students, Cal Corps is the University’s Public Service Center. The Center partners with the community, student leaders and faculty to engage over 6000 students each year as volunteers, and through jobs, internships, and courses. Cal Corps serves as a clearinghouse for a variety of academic year and summer internships, including Cal in the Capitol, Cal in Local Government, the Magnolia Project (which links students to poverty-alleviating organizations in New Orleans), and JusticeCorps.
The Townsend Center's G.R.O.U.P. Summer Apprenticeships Program pairs faculty members and undergraduate students in summer research projects, allowing students to develop new skills under the guidance of a faculty mentor and to experience the rigor and excitement of academic research in an area of their interest.
Companies and organizations partner with UC Berkeley's SAGE Scholars Program by offering paid internships to the SAGE Scholars in their field of study in addition to making an annual contribution to the SAGE Scholar's Fund at UC Berkeley. Through these partnerships business sponsors will provide invaluable business experience and training, as well as strong mentoring. SAGE Scholars will also participate in career workshops at UC Berkeley, specially designed to enhance their business and leadership skills.
Creative Residencies for Emerging Artists Teaching Empowerment (C.R.E.A.T.E.)
C.R.E.A.T.E. is an arts-in-service internship program that allows Cal undergraduates to contribute their skills in visual arts, dance, theater, and creative writing to meet community needs in afterschool programs. Interns are recruited at the beginning of every semester.
The Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq) is a Cal Community Center providing programs, resources and services for and about the Women's and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities, as well as, sexual and hate/bias motivated harassment and violence. GenEq is a fast-paced and dynamic work environment where we promote brave spaces for dialogue and mutual understanding. Interns should possess those personal qualities that will aid in effectively and affably relating those who seek assistance through the GenEq. These qualities should include mature judgment, sensitivity to others, appreciation for a diverse student body, and knowledge of issues affecting women and LGBT persons. We are looking for passionate individuals who are committed to issues of social justice and are motivated to make social change within our communities.
Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program
The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program is a scholarship fund for students volunteers. Each year, the program selects up to 20 undergraduates to receive need-based scholarships in the range of $2,500 to $5,000, making it possible for students to volunteer 12 to 15 hours a week in off-campus service activities. Applications are due in July of each year.
The Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize
The Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize supports intellectual and creative pursuits that heighten awareness of issues of social consciousness and the public good.Up to $25,000 for a project to be completed in the year after graduation.
Funding for Graduate Work in the Humanities
Beinecke Scholarship ($32,000 for MFA or PhD in Arts, Humanities, or
Social Science: requires financial need. Apply when you are a year or a semester away from graduation.)
Jack Kent Cooke (up to $50,000 for six years; requires financial need, 3.5+ GPA. Apply in your last semester or after graduation).
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship -- up to four years of support in a graduate program --
and DAAD for Study in Germany, both administered by the
Graduate Division Fellowships Office, 318 Sproul Hall.
Chernin Entertainment will be seeking interns to work with our feature film and television departments in Summer 2012. Candidates should have strong communication and organizational skills.
Positions are unpaid, and candidates must be eligible to receive academic credit. Please email resumes and availability to Sandi Howk at firstname.lastname@example.org later than March 31st, 2012 for Summer 2012 consideration.
Chernin Entertainment produces television programs and feature films. Its current slate of television shows includes the breakout hit comedy New Girl, A&E’s Breakout Kings, and Fox’s new series Terra Nova and Allen Gregory. Fox will air the highly anticipated Touch, starring Keifer Sutherland, in spring 2012. Peter Chernin, along with Dylan Clark, produced the company's first feature film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was released in August 2011. The film received critical acclaim and has grossed over $430 million worldwide as of October 2011.
826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. They offer a range of programs, all free of charge, for students, classrooms, and schools in the Bay Area. Their project-based approach allows students ownership over the writing process, and strengthens their ability to express themselves clearly and in their own voice. By making writing fun, by demystifying the process, and by creating gorgeous books, magazines, and newspapers that honor their work, we can inspire young people to gain critical skills and write with confidence.
Come exercise your writing and editing skills, work directly with teachers and students, and gain valuable experience in the many aspects of educational programming, nonprofit administration, and event planning.
To apply, please send an email with a current resume (with references) that reflects relevant experience and skills. Also include a cover letter that explains what you will bring to the position, as well as what you hope to gain from the experience.
KQED (local NPR affiliate)
KQED offers internships in programming, research, content production, communications and marketing.
KQED's Internship program offers a great opportunity for interested students to obtain valuable on-the-job exposure to areas of our business that support our mission, goals, and objectives in Public Broadcasting. The purpose of the program is to provide qualifying students with opportunities to learn and experience elements of the broadcast communications industry. Individuals who participate in our program will have the opportunity to make valuable contributions to our organization.
We have part-time AmeriCorps service positions available at UC Berkeley, and we’re looking for the best and brightest students to join our program. You can find out more by visitingour website. Students who are interested can apply by clicking here.
Energy Service Corps is a joint project of CALPIRG and AmeriCorps. Our goal is to reduce energy use here in Merced and across the state. Energy Service Corps members serve for four months to twelve months and upon completion of their service, receive a $1,208 award to pay for future schooling or to pay off student loans.
Energy Service Corps members take on lead roles to teach local school children fun, interactive lessons about energy and the environment, lead energy surveys of local buildings and coordinate service projects that bring together local community groups. Members forge partnerships with community and faith-based groups, meet with local and state officials to encourage their participation in community projects, contact the media to write about energy efficiency and adapt educational activities to fit the needs of local communities and to appeal to a wide range of age groups – all in an effort to foster long-term community stewardship and increase energy efficiency across California!
There are lots of other ways you can get involved if you want to help out, like:
A rigorous, two-month program allows undergraduates to teach high-achieving middle school students in small classroom settings. Each teacher has a lot of support from professional experienced teachers and from other college students who have taught at Breakthrough before. Since Breakthrough is an official partner of Teach for America, it is something to consider for anyone who is planning on applying. "At 33 locations across the nation and abroad, Breakthrough Collaborative launches motivated middle-school students on the path to college and prepares older students for careers in education. A national nonprofit, Breakthrough Collaborative is devoted to preparing high-achieving middle-school students, most of whom are of color and from low-income families, to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs. Breakthrough also recruits and trains outstanding high school and college students to become Breakthrough teachers and build an interest in careers as educators."
Comcast SportsNet offers four multi-week internship programs for students preparing for a career in sports television. The four internships are within the 1) News Department, 2) Live Events Department 3) Marketing/PR Department and 4) Digital media. All of these are unpaid internships, and applicants must receive college credit for their work. The internships are located in our San Francisco, CA office.
The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University focuses on the needs of students with exceptionally high academic abilities. The CTY community includes very bright students from all over the world whose talents place them well ahead of their age-mates. These students need special attention: greater academic challenges, interaction with intellectual peers, and teaching strategies designed especially for the gifted. CTY offers gifted students, and their families and schools as well, a wide range of programs and services to nurture their intellectual abilities, enhance personal development, and foster better understanding of the needs of talented youth. CYT hires instructors for its day and residential summer programs. At CTY you will work with an exceptional group of students, make contacts and friendships with dynamic colleagues, and gain valuable experience in a rigorous academic community. CTY has consistently been named as one of the top internships in leading publications. We have a network of past employees now working in positions ranging from heads of school to deans of students to university professors. Program sites located in several states, including California.
Undergraduate and High School Interns: The SFDA offers internship positions for undergraduate and high school students with an interest in criminal justice who seek exposure to the unique and diverse opportunities the SFDA offers. Undergraduate and high school students assist prosecutors in a variety of clerical tasks, such as organizing and preparing case files for trial, contacting witnesses, and managing subpoenas and records surrounding both pre-trial hearings and jury trials. Applicants should be reliable and well-organized students who can successfully balance their studies with their work at the office.
Unigo.com, a multimedia college platform, is looking for exceptional college students to join our network. College students will be paid $16/hour to chat online with prospective students interested in their university. What’s great about this program is you can work around your unique schedule and commit to as many or few sessions as you wish. Your involvement can change higher education by making the college application process easier and more informative
Unigo is an online community led by college students and counselors to help families find, get in and pay for college. Founded in 2008, Unigo is based in New York and funded by McGraw-Hill Education and a group of angel investors. Unigo works with media companies such as USA Today, The Huffington Post, US News & World Report and others. For more information visit: http://www.unigo.com/fast-facts.aspx
Writers for Liberty - Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University
Paid internship. On the job training for reporters, producers, and investigative journalists! The Institute for Humane Studies seeks skilled writers passionate about individual liberty and free enterprise. Spring, summer, and fall placements available in:
Past interns have worked with 20/20, DC Examiner, CAlWAtchDog, The Daily Center, and Fox Cable News. Benefits include a stipend, career workshops, mentoring, and a growing professional portfolio.
ZYZZYVA, the literary journal of West Coast writers and artists, is looking for editorial interns for its San Francisco office. The internships will focus on editorial assistance, online feature writing, social media management, and general office support.
The part-time internships begin the week of January 10thand will last 8 to 10 weeks. Applicants should be available to work from our San Francisco office 2-3 days every week for the duration.
All applicants should possess excellent writing and research skills, have a sharp eye toward detail, and should be pursuing a career in professional writing or publishing. The ideal candidate is highly organized, deadline oriented, and passionate about the world of letters and its presence on the West Coast. Interns are expected to contribute regular fine arts (book, theater, art) reviews and other features to the ZYZZYVA blog.
To apply, please submit a brief cover letter (including availability), resume, and 3 samples of non-fiction writing with the subject line “ZYZZYVA Intern” to email@example.com.
The deadline for applications is December 19.
Established in 1985, ZYZZYVA is the leading print journal dedicated to publishing new works by contemporary artists and authors living and working on the West Coast. Produced and published in San Francisco, ZYZZYVA is available in bookstores across the country and brings national attention to the work of West Coast authors and artists. ZYZZYVA has established a strong tradition of finding talent, and has offered many contemporary luminaries their first time in print, including Po Bronson, Chitra Divakaruni, Haruki Murakami (translated by J. Philip Gabriel), and F.X. Toole.
Confused about what to do with your English major? Not sure what you are qualified for? Need inspiration as you plan your future? We have compiled a list of jobs held by Berkeley English Department alumni to give you an idea of just how flexible the English major can be as a steppingstone to many different careers. It is remarkable to see the variety of jobs filled by English majors. When you get asked "but what can you do with an English major?", this list will provide a plethora of answers. We found it truly exciting to read about English majors in the film industry, banking, publishing, acting, social work, politics, software companies and hardware companies, the federal government, libraries, advertising, the tourist industry, magazine publishing, the healthcare industry and many more.
Need a new book to read? Looking for bedtime reading or summer reading? The Chernin Program has put together a list of recommendations from faculty, grad students, and undergrads. The list is an ongoing project, so we will be adding to it as more recommendations arrive. Check back from time to time to see the new additions!
Please feel free to add your own recommendations, too—just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Mangin's recommendations:
The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare (ed. Sharmila Cohen and Paul Legault). In this collection published last year, 160 contemporary poets reimagine Shakespeare’s sonnets in experimental terms. The results are both playful and profound, demonstrating the mutual responsiveness of poetic expressions across time. Treat yourself to one “sonnet” at a sitting or immerse yourself in the entire cycle.
Ela Mershon's recommendations:
Blindness by Jose Saramago describes the fallout after an epidemic of "white blindness" overtakes an unnamed city. It is "white" because, the blind--rather than being plunged into total darkness--are engulfed in a milky white sea. It is a disease that perhaps registers a world with too much light, too much visual stimulation -- a critique of inundation and excess? The story follows a group of the newly blind and those suspected of contamination. They are rounded up and quarantined in a former mental asylum. Cut off from the rest of the world, the blind are left to fend for themselves. What ensues is horrific, foul, and gruesome; what ensues is poignant, harrowing and tender.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami chronicles the attempts of Toru to find his cat and his wife. Yet it is a "mystery" that is strangely placid, even languid in its pace and tone. Events unfold in rippling tangents. Underworlds (literal and figural) emerge in askant glances that threaten to engulf the world above. The mysterious disappearances of the cat and the wife come to embrace a host of bizarre characters and to encompass traumatic historical events. While these wide embraces of plot and character are dreamy and surreal, they also strike with a logical coherency, which, for me, makes them all the more forceful and haunting.
I would make it an annual ritual to re-read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; and Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.
Ryan Perry's recommendations:
W. G. Sebald's The Emigrants. Sebald's works blend history, memoir, and fiction in such a way as to make the distinction between those categories difficult to maintain. His style is utterly transfixing and full of long sentences and paragraphs that propel the reader through the text in a manner similar to Proust. This book, which is essentially elegiac, consists of four portraits of men forced to leave Germany during the rise of Nazism.
Roberto Bolaño's Amulet, a novel about the self-professed "mother of Mexican poetry." Bolaño's novels document a partially fictional coterie of Latin American authors, who are usually young, idealistic, and hedonistic. His protagonists tend to get caught up in the turbulent Chilean or Mexican politics of the 70s, in a confrontation between the idealism of literature and the brutality of history.
Eric Falci's list:
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel. These are the first two books in a planned trilogy about the court of King Henry VIII, focusing primarily on Thomas Cromwell, a key figure in Henry's government. Each is an amazingly vivid historical fiction. Both volumes won the Booker Prize (in 2009 and 2012).
The Prizes program at UC Berkeley is a primary forum for rewarding creative expression and scholarly achievement by Cal's finest students. Winners receive both distinction and a cash prize, which is coordinated with the winner's financial aid package, if any. Prize competitions are open to students of any major. Successful, even prominent, artists and poets in our society found that winning an award at Berkeley was a pivotal experience in their artistic careers. Prizes are administered under the direction of the Academic Senate Committee on Prizes. Copies of the essays and poetry submissions chosen to receive prizes are archived at the Bancroft Library at the end of each year.
The general deadline for all contests (except the Greek/Latin Translation contests, Eisner Film/Video, Eisner Photo-Imaging, and Lipson Essay Prize) is 4 p.m., December 1.
Write a poem
$500 - $300
Write a poem
Write a poem
$600 - $250
Write a story or play
Create a collection of poetry
Write an anecdote, story, poem, drawing, or play illustrative of American wit and humor
$2,000 - $1,000
Create a lyric poem
$500 - $250
Write a poem
$600 - $250
Write a story or play
Create a prose submission consisting of a substantial volume of work
$1,000 - $750
Write an essay
Write an anecdote, story, poem, drawing, or play illustrative of American wit and humor
$400 in prizes
Write a short story
BAY AREA POETRY/FICTION/DRAMA READING SERIES
* This blog collects all of the bay area poetry events and is updated almost every day:
This is a really fun reading series. Join the facebook group and you will get updates. It is usually a younger crowd of student-poets. The readings always take place at 604 56th street, one of those Oakland houses with a couch on the porch. It often turns into a party afterwards.
Hosts fancier readings series, most often with older, more well-established poets. Events are most often in San Francisco. Take especial notice of the reading planned for November 20th—UC Berkeley professor Lyn Hejinian will be presenting!
Dramatic readings of plays and other performance/literary events. For example, on Sept. 21 at 7:30 is “Stealing the Leads: Women Read Glengarrygloss Glen Ross, a Play by David Mamet.”
Takes place in the Maude Fife Room in Wheeler! This reading series pairs an established visiting poet with a graduate student poet.
A noontime poetry reading series that takes place in the Morrison Library in Doe on the first Thursday of the month.
A monthly prose reading series at UC Berkeley. The “Bay Area Mystery Writers Panel” on Oct. 14th looks interesting.
San Francisco’s literary festival. Most events happen in bars. Titles include, “Is Self Publishing the New Black?”
BFR is an entirely undergraduate student-run publication. We seek out innovative fiction that plays with form and content as well as traditionally constructed stories with fresh voice and original ideas. We run a yearly Sudden Fiction contest for stories under 1,000 words.
BPR is the University of California, Berkeley's longest running poetry journal, having been published annually since 1974. It has earned the distinction of being one of the premier student-managed journals in the country. Throughout the academic year, our staff works to produce a volume of poetry, with submissions coming from all across the nation, as well as from students, faculty, and friends of the University. In addition, we wish to promote serious consideration of student creative writing and to foster a welcoming community where poets can hone their craft and receive helpful feedback about their work.
CLAM is a bi-annual publication run by members of the UC Berkeley student body. We publish literature and visual art by the Berkeley student community and report on recent artistic events and accomplishments at UC Berkeley. Our mission is to provide space for new writers and artists to have their work published. We want to form a community of creative people to share their ideas and gain exposure.
Cal Slam is one of the last bastions of creative expression on the UC Berkeley campus. We host Monday Writing Workshops, General Meetings every Saturday, and an Open Mic and Poetry Slam on every third Thursday of the month. Our poets learn to use their poetry to better explore and share themselves, their experiences and the world around them through words.
The Human Journal builds communities on the Cal campus in two ways. The first, more obvious, way is through the publication. The publication is a collection of true, personal, and specific stories written by Berkeley affiliates (students, faculty, staff. . .) with the intention of letting us know each other a little better. The second way that HJB builds community is through the staff. The staff of the Human Journal are a close knit group of individuals dedicated to making Cal a little bite friendlier and a little bit more welcoming. They know each other well, and support each other not just in journal related issues, but in life.
Oatmeal Magazine is run by two Berkeley kids who live nearish each other in said city. Disillusioned by scary literary mags but inspired by a certain creative writing class, they now happily found an outlet for writing weird things, and having people like them for it. Do you want to be us? Or, better question, would you like to join us in our celebration of this literary breakfast? If you’re interested, please state your interest in this particular feast by emailing email@example.com.
The Chernin Program is now part of Berkeley Connect.
Please visit the Berkeley Connect in English webpages for additional information:
Hi! My name is Aliya and I am a fourth year English major with a minor in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies. I’m so thrilled to be leading my second Playwriting Workshop through the Chernin Program this fall. This Workshop will focus on the fundamentals of playwriting, starting with (attempting to answer) the question “what is a play?” and moving forward towards learning about a play’s structure, the importance of character development, creating believable dialogue, working with different styles and, most importantly, finding one’s individual artistic voice. All of this will be learned through classroom discussions, theater games and of course, independent writing which will be read aloud and workshopped in class. By the end of the semester, each participant will have completed at least one full length one-act or 2 short plays. Happy writing!
I'm Ezra Evenson, a senior English major and short story writer. This will be my fourth time facilitating a workshop for the Chernin program, and for this semester, I'll be focusing on the mechanics of storytelling. Each week, we'll look at the basics of crafting your story: character development, plot, point of view, conflict, setting, etc. There will be time provided in workshop for writing exercises. Writers of all experience levels are welcome, though this workshop may be most beneficial to newer writers. My goal is to provide a constructive and enthusiastic environment for anyone interested in taking the time to write and gather feedback from their peers.
Hello! My name is Matt Grobar and this will be my last semester here at beautiful UC Berkeley. Writing for film and television has been a great fascination for me for a long time, and I'm very excited to be facilitating a workshop in writing for television. This summer, I worked on the set of “Lucky Dog,” an upcoming TV movie, and interned for nine weeks at United Talent Agency, one of the premier talent agencies in the entertainment industry. At UTA, I spoke with TV agents, read some scripts and learned a little bit about the process of television writing. The focus of this workshop will be crafting a “spec” episode of the acclaimed Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.” Students will work together in “The Writers’ Room” to break story on and begin scripting an original episode of the show. I very much look forward to meeting you all!
This workshop will deal with the process of writing and workshopping long fiction from long-short stories to novellas to novels. We will work on creating and crafting the traditional elements of a story including plot, character, setting, theme, and conflict over an extended piece of writing. We will workshop individual sections of a piece while also working on outlining and planning out the broader ideas and concepts that will be developed. My hope is that even if you don’t come out of the workshop with a completed draft of a work, you have a much better idea of how you’d like it to develop. Any and all forms of long fiction are accepted. If you have a piece of long fiction that you want to workshop or an idea for a piece of long fiction that you want to develop, this is the workshop for you.
About me: I’m currently a senior English major, Creative Writing minor. I’ve been in numerous workshops at different levels and facilitated a few. My emphasis is on long fiction though I do dabble in other genres. I have one (very) rough draft of a novel and I'm currently working on my second.
Hello! My name is Allison Walters and I’m a senior majoring in English. I’ve been a part of the Chernin Program for the last couple of semesters but this is my first time facilitating and leading a workshop. This semester I’m offering a workshop on flash fiction, the shortest of the short stories, and I’m excited to show you how great tales can come in small word counts. You’ll begin by writing a story that’s 1,000 words or less and end the semester by writing one in 10! Trust me, it can be done. So sign up for my workshop and learn how to make your stories short, sweet, and to the point.
Participate in a writing-centric workshop focused on the poetry least assigned and most important to the aspiring poet in academia: contemporary work. We will draw from recent award winners like Tracy K. Smith and Natasha Trethewey, relatively obscure poets from my personal collection like Shane Book and Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan, and even the most recent issue of the Berkeley Poetry Review, in an attempt to rough out an outline of the state of poetry today. However, I hope that most of our focus will be on improving your own writing, and that our work with contemporary poets will inspire both your content and your craft. As for me, my name is Jules, I am an English major, I’ve moved an inordinate number of times over the years (17), and I am very excited to read so much of your poetry.
The Bay Area is crawling with fun things to do. The suggestions below are just the very beginning of cool things in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Below are several recommendations for cheap (or free) cultural activities nearby. Make sure to check out their websites for additional information about current readings, exhibits, or other activities. Readings:City Lights Books (SF)An independent bookstore started by poet Lawrence Ferlenghetti and PeterMartin. Frequently hosts readings. Check out the calendar posted on theirwebsite!http://www.citylights.com/Green Apple Books (SF)A fabulous used bookstore in the Richmond.http://www.greenapplebooks.com/Moe's Books (Berkeley)A used bookstore on Telegraph Avenue which frequently hosts readings.http://moesbooks.com/Festivals:Stern Grove Music Festival:A free summer concert series in Stern Grove Park (SF)http://www.sterngrove.org/Hardly Strictly Bluegrass:A FREE three-day concert series in Golden Gate Park (typically held inearly October). http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/Litquake:San Francisco's literary festival, featuring readings, lectures, talks,book signings, and more (typically in early October). Check out theirwebsite for readings during the rest of the year, as well.http://www.litquake.org/Oakland Art Murmur's First Fridayshttp://oaklandartmurmur.org/On the first Friday of every month, Oakland art galleries stay open from6-9 pm. Expect live bands, dancing, and food trucks!Friday Nights at the Oakland Museum of Californiahttp://museumca.org/event/friday-nights-omca-3Off the Grid Food Trucks, music, dance lessons, and half-price admissionto OMCA.Theaters:Berkeley Repertory TheaterA Tony-award winning nonprofit theater located in downtown Berkeley. Makesure to check out student rush ticket prices ($10 off regular price) andunder 30 prices (1/2 off advance ticket sales). Or, if you love theater,consider volunteering as an usher. You'll get to see shows and receiveextra tickets each time you volunteer.http://www.berkeleyrep.org/index.aspAurora Theater Companyhttps://www.auroratheatre.org/Voted the best theater of the Bay in 2012, Aurora Theater's seasonincludes several contemporary plays and frequently features newplaywrights. Student tickets (with UCB id) are $15 when purchased 24hours in advance. There are also $20 rush tickets.Pacific Film Archives (UCB)http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/filmseries/Daily (or near-daily) screenings of art films. Tickets are $5.50 for UCBstudents; season tickets are an even better deal!CalShakes:Shakespeare performed in an outdoor theater in the beautiful Orinda hills.http://www.calshakes.org/Museums:San Francisco Center for the BookA museum dedicated to books and bookbinding. Admission is always free;the center also offers frequent workshops on book-binding, printing, etc.http://sfcb.org/Discounted or Free Museum Days:Asian Art Museum (SF) - 1st Wednesday of the month (free); $5 admissionon Thursdays from 6-9http://www.asianart.org/de Young Museum (SF) - 1st Tuesday of the month (free)http://deyoung.famsf.org/Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - 1st Tuesday of the month (free); 1/2 priceadmission on Thursdays from 6-9Oakland Museum of California - 2nd Sunday of the month (free)http://www.museumca.org/