ULM students interview renowned author Diane Glancy

Posted on May 16, 2022

A group of ULM students have published the work of a major class project in World Literature Today Weekly, an award-winning magazine of international literature and culture. Students from English 4000, a specialized course on Indigenous women writers, interviewed acclaimed novelist, poet and essayist Diane Glancy, whom they had studied on the course.

Dr. Mary Adams, English teacher and coordinator of the English program, gave the course. Among the participating students were English senior Kaylee Sadler, Lauren Fee, Grace Lewis, Katelynn Nelson, psychology junior Caleb Fisher and communications junior Carley Nail. Fee, Lewis and Sadler graduated on Saturday.

The class focused on the works of Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo and Glancy. Perhaps most impactful was Glancy’s novel Pushing the Bear, a historically accurate tale of the Trail of Tears that centers on a fictional family as they make the arduous journey. Glancy is of Cherokee and German-English descent, and his works often chronicle historical events from the Aboriginal perspective. Students said they were drawn to the novel’s weave of historical fact, fictional narrative, and cultural and linguistic detail.

“Diane Glancy gives us a unique perspective on the reality of Native American history. She offers us insight into the struggles, successes, and traditions of American tribes, and such contributions are essential to improving our next generation,” Fee said.

Glancy’s student appreciation as a writer, researcher, and educator has inspired many conversations about the growing role this fiction can play in public education.

“The students’ in-depth discussions deserved a wider audience,” Adams said. “It occurred to me that Ms. Glancy might also be interested in these discussions.”

Adams pitched the idea for the interview to World Literature Today. When the editorial team accepted the proposal in early spring, Adams contacted Glancy to request the interview. Glancy agreed and the students were still eager to participate, even though the course had ended two months earlier.

In March, the class met to write questions, practice interview skills and organize their ideas. Later, the band interviewed Glancy via Zoom. The students were nervous and excited, but extremely professional. Their follow-up questions and interactions with the author demonstrated a high level of readiness, which Glancy herself commented on repeatedly.

This process provided students with experience in interviewing and editing, as well as a better understanding of key issues in Native American studies. The students learned a lot from Glancy, who spoke about his writing process and the motivation behind his most important works. Glancy ended the interview by offering valuable advice to young academics. Nelson said she found both the conversation and its final printed version very moving.

“Reading Ms. Glancy’s answers, especially the final grade she left us, still gave me chills. I hope our readers will have the same experience,” Nelson said.

To read the full interview between the students and Glancy, click here: https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/blog/interviews/multiplicity-voices-diane-glancy-meets-english-4000-mary-e- adams-lauren-fresh-caleb.

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