Tag Archives: Elaine Showalter

Ms. Mentor Recommends: How to Write a Successful Academic Novel & A Summer Reading List

1“You’ll start, naturally, with the terror of the blank screen. Never tell yourself, ‘I am going to commit an act of literature.’ That can paralyze you. Instead, try: ‘I am going to write a horrendously awful first draft.’ That’ll get you started. Setting yourself a daily writing quota is helpful. It can be time (an hour a day) or words (500 words a day). Ms. Mentor presumes you have something in mind for your academic novel. Perhaps there’s a character you want to create—a struggling adjunct, an aggrieved graduate student, a free spirit who says the-hell-with-it-all. Probably you want some kind of revenge. First let Ms. Mentor tell you what not to do in writing your masterpiece—at least if you want her to approve of your final product.”

June 2, 2014 – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Writing Academic Novels for Fun and (Little) Profit by Ms. Mentor

Charles Nevin on the past and future of campus fiction

16 June 2013 – The Guardian

How Tom Sharpe earned his seat at high table of campus fiction by Charles Nevin 

“The best campus novels have a comic, rueful touch […]”

1“I’ve always been drawn to novels set in the academy. I like the parochial closed world in which incompatible people are forced to come to terms with one another. I like the relatively high tolerance for oddity and the relatively low threat of physical violence. I like characters who speak in complete sentences, use lofty vocabulary and sprinkle their repartee with literary references.”

September 6, 2011, The Wall Street Journal

Back to School by Cynthia Crossen

Black Academic Fiction


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I have recently stumbled upon a blog whose author wrote a dissertation titled The Over-Education of the Negro: Higher Education, Academic Novels, and the Black Intellectual. His blogging and some posts are of interest:

On black academic fiction (bibliography)

On academic criticism (bibliography)

– On academic films:

http://lavelleporter.com/2010/06/18/the-university-on-screen-the-top-10-academic-films-2/

http://lavelleporter.com/2010/08/19/10-more-academic-films-2/

– On individual novels:

http://lavelleporter.com/2013/02/17/academic-novel-imperium-in-imperio/

http://lavelleporter.com/2011/05/05/pym/

http://lavelleporter.com/2010/12/29/japanese-by-spring/

http://lavelleporter.com/2010/08/18/stoner-by-john-williams/