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Department of English Events 2023

Movies on the House (ongoing)

Movies on the House (MOTH) is a free film series featuring screenings at UNF and MOCA. Visit MOTH's website for our current schedule and archive of past screenings.

UNF Shakespeare presents Othello (Oct 20 - Nov 17)

Join us for this unique take on Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy, as UNF students and alums perform an original multilingual version of the play based on a script concept from director Will Pewitt (Department of English). The play follows adoring newlyweds, Othello (a Moroccan general) and Desdemona (a Venetian noblewoman), who both believe they have overcome the prejudicial forces aiming to keep them apart—until they are overwhelmed by those forces, embodied by Shakespeare’s most insidiously resourceful villain: Iago. 

Performances begin October 20 at MOCA Jacksonville, with further shows at Limelight Theatre, Friday Musicale, and the UNF Lazzara Performance Hall. See the website below for a complete list of showtimes and remember to “wear thy heart upon thy sleeve.” 

The Inside Story:  Roberts-Wainright Symposium on Crime Writing (Nov 14)

Five leading authors of crime fiction reveal how they craft compelling mysteries and thrillers. Authors include NY Times bestselling and Emmy, Shamus, Anthony, and other major award-winning writers Reed Farrel Coleman, Matt Goldman, Charles Salzberg, Tom Straw, and Michael Wiley. Hosted by Mark Ari. Sponsored by the Roberts-Wainright Endowment for Creative Writing.

  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art 2-1001
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 pm

Book Talk with Ron Destro (Oct 28)

Award-winning Florida author and UNF instructor, Ron Destro will give a talk about his shortlisted debut novel, The Starre, the Moone, the Sunne. Destro, an actor, playwright and director, has written an Elizabethan murder mystery whose solving just happens to reveal the true identity of William Shakespeare. It is a (mostly) true tale filled with suspense and humor, touching on the powerful love of fathers, the perils of the plague, an executed printer, a kidnapped actor, pilfering pirates, and the mysterious life and tragic death of the Bard of Avon. At 2:00, the author will talk a bit about the book and the legitimacy of the Shakespeare authorship question, and then be on hand to sign books until 6pm.

  • Location: 2nd & Charles Bookstore
  • Time: 2-6pm

Buffalo Girl Reading / Book Launch (Oct 20)

Join us to celebrate the publication of Jessica Q. Stark’s poetry collection Buffalo Girl, featuring readings by Stark, Katherine Sánchez Espano, and Lauren Hunter.

  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art 2-1001
  • Time: 6:30pm

Word by Word Reading Series presents “The Curly Organ” (Oct 19)

Donal McConnon, from Galway, Ireland, performs under the name of “The Curly Organ.” A multidisciplinary performer, Donal is a man of abundant energy and creative daring: a singer and songwriter; a performance artist; a visual artist; a video artist; a filmmaker and podcast producer, a poet and teacher…and a member of “Clowns Without Borders Ireland.” McConnon is driven in all his endeavors by, what he calls, a “burning need to reach out into my direct environment and inspire a sense of play with whoever is there.” And for this rare event, Donal’s “sense of play” will come to us with this evening of music and performance, stories and songs, brought to us — direct from Galway…by the one, the only…The Curly Organ!

  • Location: Department of English Commons
  • Time: 6:30-8:30pm

Virtual Learning Center Speaker Series - "AR Photography User Experience Research" (Oct 19)

The Virtual Learning Center and VR Club are sponsoring the Research, Teaching, and Media in Extended Reality Speaker Series, which is featuring a talk from Dr. Kailan Sindelar and English graduate students Juliette Guido, Kaylee Klosterman, and Brooke Wooten. In this talk, they will discuss the methodology, experiences, and findings from a user experience research study that they conducted over the summer. They will also discuss how this work informed other projects about augmented reality and other professional communications. Please come out to support our graduate students

  • Location: Carpenter Library, VLC Room 3403
  • Time: 11:30-12:30

Dreamboat Reading Series (Sep 29)

Join us for the latest Dreamboat Reading Series event at the historic Friday Musicale. Dreamboat is co-organized by poets / editors / educators Dorsey Craft and Jessica Q. Stark, and features both local and visiting poets along with musical performances. Featured readers for September are visiting poets Natalie Louise Tombasco and Anthony Borruso, who will be joined by Jacksonville-based poet Dakota Boyer. Readers will be followed by music by the Orlando-based, gothic folk band Vestis. This event is sponsored by the UNF Department of English and Friday Musicale.

  • Time: 7-9PM
  • Location: Friday Musicale (645 Oak St., Jacksonville, 32204)
  • Admission: free and open to all

Talon Review Open-Mic Night / Release Party (Sep 15)

UNF's literary journal Talon Review presents an Open Mic Night in celebration of their latest issue. Readers are encouraged to share their poetry, fiction, literary essays, spoken word, lyrics, memoirs, or any crafted work. Talon Review members will also be present to answer questions. Signup starts at 6:30pm and refreshments will be provided.

  • Time: 6:30PM
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art 2-1001 

UNF Shakespeare presents A Midsummer Night's Dream (July 28, Aug 5)

Ready for a romp through Shakespeare, ’80s style? Take a chill pill with Billy Shakes and a gnarly troupe of actors from UNF Shakespeare performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Produced by Will Pewitt and directed by Janson Cobiella, this new adaptation aims to  turn the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens into an unforgettable night of rad hijinks and bodacious comedy as four lovers in a freakazoid love dilemma have their fortunes turned upside down by the tubular shenanigans of Puck, Titania, Oberon, and the world of the fairies.

Join us for a 21+ event on July 28 or a family-oriented show on August 5. The August 5 event is free to the public. For tickets to the 21+ performance on July 28, please visit:

For more information, please visit: Contact Will Pewitt for info on this show or upcoming productions.

Tsai Ming-Liang's The Night with Nicholas de Villiers (June 7)

Join us in the MOCA Theater during Art Walk for a screening of Taiwan filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang’s The Night (2021, runtime 19 minutes) introduced by UNF English & Film Professor Nicholas de Villiers and followed by a discussion.

  • Time: 7PM
  • Location: MOCA Jacksonville

Dreamboat Poetry Series (May 21)

Dreamboat Poetry Series presents Craig Beaven & Sandra Simonds w/ musical guest Tim Albro.

  • Time: 7PM
  • Location: Friday Musicale

The Doc Show 2023 (May 3)

AfterImage Documentary at UNF presents The Doc Show 2023, a program of original short documentary films produced by students in Dr. Jillian Smith's Documentary Production course. Admission is free as part of First Wednesday Art Walk.

  • Time: 6 PM
  • Location: MOCA Jacksonville

Musical Theatre Showcase (Apr 30)

Join us for an evening of songs from classic and modern musical theatre, including In the Heights, Chicago, Spring Awakening, Once on this Island, Mean Girls, Beauty and the Beast, The Addams Family, Disney's The Lion King, Godspell, Funny Girl, The Wild Party, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

This show is organized and performed by Dr. Maureen McCluskey’s spring Musical Theatre I class.

  • Time: 7 PM
  • Location MOCA Jacksonville

Wainright Award Winners Reading + Talon Review Open Mic (Apr 18)

Winners of the 2023 Amy R. Wainright Awards in Creative Writing will read from their work, followed by an open mic hosted by the Talon Review literary journal. Open mic sign-up begins at 6 PM.

  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art 2-1001

P.S. Burn this Letter Please (Apr 10)

The 2020 documentary film, P.S. Burn this Letter Please, will be screened with introduction and discussion by Dr. Nicholas de Villiers. Presented by the Department of English and LGBTQ Center.

  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Location: 14A-1312

Zombie Studies Panel (Mar 31)

The Department of English presents a panel on "Zombie Studies," featuring Dr. David Bering-Porter and Dr. Andrea Gaytán Cuesta, moderated by Dr. Nicholas de Villiers.

David Bering-Porter: "The Uncanny Vitality of the Zombie." Bering-Porter is Assistant Professor of Culture and Media at The New School. He has lectured, taught, and published on zombie movies and other forms of Black horror. He teaches regularly on generative media, horror films and zombie movies, and the history of race, science, and subjectivity. His current book project, Undead Labor, is a study of the ways that race, labor, and value come together in the mediated body of the zombie.

Andrea Gaytán Guesta: "Do you fear the Mexican Walking Dead? Zombies in Contemporary Mexican Narratives." Gaytán Cuesta is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of North Florida. Her research includes 20th and 21st Latin American literature, film, and other cultural productions that draw from interdisciplinary studies like Disaster and Catastrophe Studies, Science Fiction, and Border and Urban Studies. Her work interrogates the representations of Mexican and Latin American cultural artifacts that derive from social, indigenous and environmental movements, illuminating and exploring the trauma, fear and anxieties created by satire and horror in apocalyptic imaginaries. Her recent publications include “From Narcozombies to Aztec Cannibals: The (Re)Invention of the Zombie in Contemporary Mexican Narratives" in An-Other Zombie (upcoming).

  • Time: 1-2PM
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art (2-1001)

2023 Roberts-Wainright Author: Michael J. Seidlinger (Mar 28)

The Roberts-Wainright Creative Writing Endowment presents a reading and discussion with Michael J. Seidlinger, author of the acclaimed 2022 novel Anybody Home?. Hosted by Mark Ari.

  • Time: 6:30-8:30pm
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art (2-1001)

UNF Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing (Mar 25 - Apr 23)

UNF Shakespeare presents its spring production of Much Ado About Nothing.

  • March 25 Jacksonville Arboretum 10:30AM *
  • March 30 & 31 Friday Musicale 7PM
  • April 1 Crosswater Hall Nocatee 7PM
  • April 2 UNF Coxwell Amphitheater 5:30PM
  • April 12 UNF Lazzara Performance Hall 8:30PM (dress rehearsal followed by Q&A with cast and crew)
  • April 13 UNF Lazzara Performance Hall 10:30AM
  • April 14 Fleet Landing 6:30PM *
  • April 17 Mayo Clinic noon *
  • April 23 UNF Carpenter Library 2PM (followed by Q&A with cast and crew) *

Asterisked performances are “scenes from” rather than full performances.

All performances are free and open to the public.

The Making of Americans: A Public Reading (Mar 20-24)

In conjunction with his spring course “Being Bored | The Art of Ennui,” Clark Lunberry presents a marathon public reading of Gertrude Stein’s 1925, 900-page “novel” The Making of Americans. This event will run uninterrupted each day from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. A table and chair will be in place for readers, with an array of American flags displayed; additional seating will be provided. An added dimension to the event will involve the gradual destruction of Stein’s monumental book, with each page, once completed, immediately run through an adjacent shredder.
  • Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • Location: Outside of the UNF Gallery of Art (2-1001)

A Conversation with Marc Kudisch (Mar 3)

UNF Theater presents a conversation with actor Marc Kudisch of Broadway, opera, television, and film. Moderated by Maureen McCluskey, Janson Cobiella, Zachary Coughlin, Hannah Geary, Dawn King, and Christine Vu.

  • Time: 5:30-6:30 PM
  • Location: Fine Arts Center, Room 1414

Word by Word Reading Series: Dorsey Craft & Jennie Ziegler (Mar 2)

Word by Word Reading Series presents a reading and discussion with Dorsey Craft and Jennie Ziegler. Craft is the author of Plunder (winner of the May Sarton NH Poetry Prize) and an Assistant Poetry Editor at Agni. Ziegler's work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published in The Normal SchoolEssay DailyAppalachian ReviewLuna Luna MagazineAtlas and Alice, and Consilience.

  • Time: 6:30-8 PM
  • Location: Department of English Commons (Lassiter Hall / Bldg. 8)

Dreamboat Poetry Series (Feb 17)

Dreamboat Poetry Series presents an evening of poetry and music featuring poets Laura Jaramillo, Liz Robbins, and Andres Rojas, and flamenco guitarist Brian Luckett.

  • Time: 6-8 PM
  • Location: Friday Musicale Jacksonville

The Teaching Archive: A New History for Literary Study with Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan (Feb 3)

Please join the Department of English and UNF community for a scholarly presentation by Laura Heffernan (UNF) and Rachel Sagner Buurma (Swarthmore College) on their award-winning book, The Teaching Archive: A New History for Literary Study (University of Chicago Press).

Hailed as a “remarkably well-researched, beautifully written, wise, and moving study that offers the discipline of English literary studies a new account of its twentieth-century history,” The Teaching Archive has won the Modernist Studies Association book prize and the UNF prize for Best Scholarly Monograph. Buurma and Heffernan’s presentation will be followed by responses from English faculty members Nicholas de Villiers and Jennifer Lieberman. Refreshments will be served.

  • Time: 3:30-5:00 PM
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art (2-1001)

Word by Word Reading Series: Marcus Pactor (Jan 31)

Marcus Pactor will read from his new book Begat Who Begat Who Begat, followed by a discussion and book signing. Pactor's first book, Vs. Death Noises, won the 2011 Subito Press Prize for Fiction. His story “Megaberry Crunch” was selected for Best Small Fictions 2021. His work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Always Crashing, 3:AM Magazine, Harsh, and Juked.

  • Time: 6:30-8 PM
  • Location: UNF Gallery of Art (2-1001)