Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Best books of 2011!

As we inch our way towards December, we enter the season for 'best book of the year' lists. The leaves have changed color, so it must be time for the lists.

These types of lists are typically for fiction and trade non-fiction, so they don't tend to recognize university press books of the kind I and many of my colleagues publish. But I'm going to be following these more closely this year than I sometimes do, because I think Alex Shakar's novel Luminarium is contender to wind up on any and all lists of the best novels of the year.

And sure enough, here's one: Publishers Weekly has just issued its lists of best books of 2011, and Luminarium is one of the novels honored!


And speaking of Publishers Weekly, they also recently ran this strong, starred review of Janice Harrington's The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, describing the poems as
"pellucid, scary, morally resonant."

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