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Envisioned Words: Authors on Campus

Despite their busy schedules, several members of the Deerfield community miraculously find the time not merely to read literature, but to write and translate novels.

New member of the English department Gina Apostol is the author of three novels, including The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, winner of the 2010 Philippine National Book Award. Ms. Apostol has found herself a new mystery. Her current book is “a story about a filmmaker and a mystery writer.” She explained that these characters are placed in the context of a 1901 massacre in the Philippines.

In addition to her creativity, time management is also crucial. “I had a deadline for novel revisions once, and I ended up actually doing some revisions when on duty at the Greer store,” Ms. Apostol confessed.
As a self-described novelist rather than a poet, Ms. Apostol says that she doesn’t rely on inspiration for her ideas. “I’m doomed to keep writing it. I’m stuck with the topic I choose for five to ten years. Inspiration is not for novelists.”

Another writer on campus, Laird Ellis, husband of French teacher Francoise Ellis, describes his latest work as “a vision that creates itself.”

Mr. Ellis first imagined his novel many years ago and is still developing it.
“A book about an adopted orphan, my novel is separated into four movements, each having its own tempo or tempos: Adagio, Allegro, Vivacé, and Presto and Gravé respectively,” explained Mr. Ellis. The novel revolves around humanity and the unknowable nature of the universe and of divinity.

Meanwhile, French teacher and advisor to the campus literary magazine Albany Road Andrea Moorhead just finished translating Elise Turcotte’s Sombre Menagerie for Guernica Editions. She commented, “Writing builds on writing, not on mental musings.”

Ms. Moorhead works on her own writing but also focuses on translations, as “translation is a way to keep my mind sharp, to re-examine language closely.”

As these authors “re-examine language,” they bring literature to the forefront of faculty life and activity on campus.