Professor of English
B.A., M.A., Ph. D. University of Michigan
Office: Preyer 203 Ext: 2434
email: Brenda Flanagan
Known internationally for her dramatic presentations of her stories and poems, Brenda Flanagan teaches creative writing, Caribbean and African-American literatures as well as literary analysis. In May 2006 she was named the first Armfield Professor of English. Professor Flanagan has won numerous awards for her fiction and drama in the United States and serves frequently as a cultural ambassador for the US Department of State, with recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Chad, Panama and India.
She was the first Afro-Caribbean writer to be sent to Libya in 25 years, and the first speaker there since America and Libya resumed relations. She was also the first American writer to be sent to Central Asia since the demise of the Soviet Union. She holds a PH. D from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she won three major Hopwood awards—fiction, drama, and short story.
Flanagan has won three National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, four Global Partners to work with Czech surrealist writers, a Mellon Foundation Grant, a James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Michigan Grant for creative writing. In 2009, she received a literary nonfiction award from the North Carolina Arts Council to write a book on singer Nina Simone.
Professor Flanagan spent June 2008 at the Humanities Canter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a Jessie Dupont Fellow. And, in her role as cultural ambassador, she co-led a weeklong colloquium on African American Women Writers for Brazilian professors of American and English Literature in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 21-27, 2008.
Among the many journals in which her fiction and poetry have appeared are the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, SABLE (England), Caliban, KONCH, Witness, The Indiana Review, The Bridge, Caribbean Studies Journal, and Caribbean Review. Her essays have appeared in American Legacy and Callaloo. When the Jumbiebird Calls, one of her plays, was successfully staged at the Bonstelle Theatre, Detroit. Her new collection of stories, In Praise of Island Women and Other Crimes (KaRu Press 2005) is available, as well as her prizewinning novel, You Alone Are Dancing (University of Michigan Press 1996.) Her work is also available on CD. A 2006 winner of a residency award from the North Carolina Writer's Network, Flanagan spent summer 2006 at Headlands in California completing a novel. Her new novel, Allah in the Islands, was published by Peepal Tree Press and her collection of short stories has been translated into Russian. For the latest of her occasional articles in the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper, see Dr. Flanagan's account of her spring, 2010 visit to Haiti, How Haiti Survives (Vol.LXXV1. No 24; June 17-23, 2010, front page). Her short story Sea Baths appears in the March-October 2010 issue of BIM: Arts for the 21 Century (Vol. 3.No 2). In April 2010 Dr. Flanagan represented the US at the International Book Fair in Tunis, Tunisia.
In spring 2011, at the invitation of the American embassies in Ireland and the Czech Republic, Dr. Flanagan performed her fiction and lectured to schools and universities in Dublin and Prague. At the International Book Fair, Book World, in Prague she read fiction and engaged in a public discussion with other scholars about Arab literature in the U.S. She then lectured on African American Literature and the Black Aesthetic at Universitat Mannheim in Germany, at the invitation of the faculty teaching Formations of the Global. Also in spring, Dr. Flanagan was named the Robert Morris University Patricia Rooney International Scholar and was invited to present lectures and readings at RMU.
Dr. Flanagan's most recent publication is Soul Hands Clap in the 60s: History and African American Poetry, in the Brazilian journal:
A journal of English Language, Literatures in English, and Cultural Studies
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON HISTORY THROUGH LITERATURE, Gisele Manganelli Fernandes, editor
No: 59July/Dec 2010
Courses recently taught:
- English Composition I
- Introduction to Writing Fiction
- Writing Fiction II
- Caribbean Literature
- Senior Colloquium
- Seminars - for example "When Worlds Collide"
Seminar - Poetics of Relation: Derek Walcott and Vidia Naipul
Writing About Literature
African American Literature
Ethnic American Women's Literature
Courses for Fall 2011
ENG 201, Intermediate Composition
ENG 282, African American Literature
ENG 290, World Literatures