Oval Alum: Amanda Marzolf

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Since graduating from the University of Montana, I completed my MA in Publishing at Kingston University in London, England. During my time there, I was exposed to people and publishing from all around the world. The programme focused on all facets of publishing – editorial, marketing, publicity, sales, rights and production. The lecturers were constantly pushing us to think about where publishing is headed, as so much is changing every day with new social outlets and online media. We also explored the new possibilities of self-publishing and how that impacts both authors and publishers. Additionally, my colleagues and I produced two publications – a first-time blog-inspired book (which we dubbed a ‘blook’) and the University’s creative writing anthology (where I had a story published!). I also got to attend the London Book Fair, free of charge because I was a student!

Throughout my time in London, I worked in the publishing industry, all within children’s. I did three work placement stints – Ladybird Books (an imprint of Penguin UK), Wayland Books (Hachette UK) and Scholastic UK. I also had an amazing six-month internship in the editorial department at Franklin Watts (Hachette UK). While there, I was able to see a book through from start to finish – I even got credited in two workbook series on the copyright page! Lastly, I worked for a few months as an Assistant Literary Agent at Bright Group International. The company largely represents children’s illustrators, but they are expanding their repertoire into literary as well. I had a fabulous time working with each of these teams, and wish I had had more time with everyone I worked with.

I lived abroad for a year and a half after completing my BA in English at the U of M. It changed me in more ways than I expected. I would greatly encourage anyone to complete his or her Master’s abroad. In England, you can earn a Master’s in one year! London is a great city for international students, as it offers an array of social and culture experiences. The city is filled with historical monuments that one only dreams of seeing, but is also littered with modern architecture, as well as young professionals making their way into the workforce. It’s beyond inspiring and each day is a new adventure. Studying abroad gives you many opportunities to make international connections, see the world and learn more about yourself along the way.


Episode 99 – Robert Lee / Hydaburg, Alas

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Episode 99 – Robert Lee / Hydaburg, Alaska student – Robert Lee reflects on his experiences teaching poetry in a fishing town in Alaska. He pairs his thoughts with a poem by an elementary student from Hydaburg. http://ow.ly/2FJVqM

The Oval, Volume VII is ready! Join us for the launch!

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We were truly impressed by the high quality submissions we received for this year’s edition of The Oval. The student editors and readers who make The Oval  possible have been hard at work putting it all together. And now comes the moment that makes it all worth it: LAUNCH TIME!

Please join us for the launch of Volume VII! Come hear a few of this year’s contributors read and discuss their work, and pick up your very own copy of The Oval, hot off the press.

Day: Tuesday, April 15th

Time: Noon to 1pm

Where: Mansfield Library.

oval cover
The cover of Volume VII. Artwork by Jocelyn Catterson, and new Oval logo by Brendan Jordan.

Aerie Big Sky & International, 7th Annual Dana Gallery Reading

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Aerie Big Sky & International, 7th Annual Dana Gallery Reading

April 17th – Dana Gallery Reading
5:30-6:00 Live jazz & international hors
6:00-6:45 Traditional and spoken word
poetry, music collaborations,
and selections from worldwide
6:45-7:15 More jazz and desserts
7:15-7:45 More poems and short prose
from International Advisory Board
7:45-8:00 Closing with jazz and desserts

Episode Episode 98 – Doug Midgett / Gwen

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Episode Episode 98 – Doug Midgett / Gwendolyn Haste – Doug Midgett reflects on the legacy of agricultural ghost towns, by-products of the booms and busts of the homesteading era. He pairs his thoughts with a poem by Gwendolyn Haste. http://ow.ly/2FgqCP

Episode 97 – Bud Cheff / Olivia Stiffler

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Episode 97 – Bud Cheff / Olivia Stiffler – Bud Cheff reflects on the enduring ties between two families, one white, one Indian, on the Flathead reservation. He pairs his thoughts with a poem by Olivia Stiffler http://ow.ly/2F2ULc

Oval Alum: Daniel Mollet

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BA English: Creative Writing, 2009mollet_oval_alumni_photo

Former Oval Nonfiction Editor, 2008-2009

Former Oval Prose Reader, 2007-2008

After graduating from UM in 2009 I took a job pouring concrete in Amarillo, Texas. I had dreams of becoming the kind of writer who toiled all day long but still woke up early in the morning to work on his novel. By the end of summer I was back home in Vermillion, South Dakota, knocking on doors in the university’s English department, asking for late admission to the MA program. They let me in and gave me a job in the Writing Center and I spent the next year tutoring and developing an interest in early modern European literature. Meanwhile, I was applying to MFA programs and was accepted at Portland State University in late spring.

I left my program at the University of South Dakota and moved to Portland in August of 2010. I almost immediately started to work on what would become my MFA thesis, a novel called Rural Water. I spent the next two and a half years writing and teaching and reading. In my second year I became the prose editor and copy editor of PSU’s then-ailing literary magazine, The Portland Review. We on the editorial team had high hopes of turning the magazine around, but we found ourselves short on guidance and institutional support. (There was no one like Robert Stubblefield working with The Portland Review and at the time the magazine was not associated with the English Department or the MFA program.) Thankfully, the two editorial teams who succeeded us brought the magazine out of its doldrums and gave it a new life online and in print. Along the way of my MFA excursion at Portland State, I finished my MA in English as well, submitting a thesis essay on the epistemology of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy.

On February 20th, 2013, I boarded a plane bound for Santiago, Chile, where I was moving to accept a position teaching 11th and 12th grade English. Over the course of the year I adapted my teaching style to (hopefully) better serve high-schoolers and English language learners and embarked on a project to co-design a new high school English curriculum with the assistant principal. For the upcoming academic year I’ll be directing the English department and spending any free time traveling in South America and revising my novel.