Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

‘Writing &’ gives students ideas for future professions

Can students majoring in English, art, music and the humanities do something with their degrees other than teach? The answer is yes, and the professionals participating in the Writing & series are living proof.

Writing &, which starts at noon today and lasts through Tuesday morning, will involve several Alabama graduates who have earned degrees in the humanities. All will speak to students about their current and past work experiences.

Among the professionals involved are widely published author Yunte Huang, editor of the “Southern Review” Jeanne Leiby, managing editor of the Hearst Corp. Glenn Mott, Alabama Press editor-in-chief Dan Waterman, and former Tuscaloosa Arts Council director Pam Penick.

“It can be a scary thing to be a college junior or senior majoring in one of the arts,” said Hank Lazer, associate provost for academic affairs and executive director of Creative Campus, the organization sponsoring the event.

“Many students think that they have to know exactly what they will do for the rest of their lives immediately after they graduate, and that’s just not true,” he said. “You may start out in one field but end up in another because you do things that sound interesting and see what’s possible.”

Lazer hopes that Writing & will alleviate some of this stress that students may have. He also emphasized the unique nature of the Writing & event.

“The mark of a Creative Campus event isn’t to have students sit quietly in chairs for an hour. Our goal is to develop broader concepts for arts events,” Lazer said.

Rather than simply attending lectures, students will have the opportunity to closely interact with the participating professionals. Students can do this by attending a brown bag lunch, asking questions at a panel discussion and listening to several author readings.

Yunte Huang, who received his master’s in English from the University and co-founded Swen Chinese restaurant during that time, is one of the authors participating in Monday night’s reading at the Ferguson Theatre.

He will be reading from his new book “Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History,” which has received several positive reviews from major publications including Time Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Harper’s.

Huang said the book was inspired both by his time here at Alabama and by his fascination with the famous Chinese-American character Charlie Chan.

“My reading of Charlie Chan is different than most people’s,” Huang said. “Many people think that he gives Chinese-Americans a bad image. I take more of an ironic view. He’s actually a very smart, funny character, and I try to reconcile these two versions of him in my book.”

When asked about his experience co-founding Swen, Huang said, “My dream was to be a famous Southern writer. Once I realized that it was going to take me longer than a few months to do that, I thought, ‘Well, people need to eat,’ and I thought that founding a restaurant was a good, honest way to make a living. With the help of a few friends, we rented the place, renovated it from scratch, and started cooking and waiting tables.”

Since then, Huang has had several of his works published and has been a professor at Harvard and UC Santa Barbara.

According to Lazer, all of the professionals participating in Writing & are very excited about helping young writers and students achieve their professional goals.

“Jeanne Leiby and I were talking about this the other day,” he said. “She said that she wished there had been something like this at the University when she was in school and about to graduate with her MFA. It’s a valuable thing to be able to talk to people who are working in the professions that you’re interested in.”

For more information about the Writing & events, go to

Info boxes: (we need to have these because there are 4 different events that should be mentioned that aren’t enumerated in the story – most important are in bold)

What: Writing & Getting Published, brown bag lunch

Who: Jeanne Leiby, editor of the Southern Review

When: Monday, noon

Where: Morgan 301

What: Writing & Panel Discussion, Q&A discussion

Who: Yunte Huang, Jeanne Leiby, Glenn Mott, Pam Penick, Dan Waterman

When: Monday, 4 p.m.

Where: Ferguson 300

What: Writing & Reading, author reading

Who: Yunte Huang, Jeanne Leiby, and Glenn Mott

When: Monday, 8:30 p.m.

What: Ferguson Theatre

What: Writing & China and New Media, discussion of journalism and China

Who: Glenn Mott

When: Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.

Where: 338, Reese Phifer

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