Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, an MUW professor of English, is one of the school’s best-known faculty members. He is also the director of the Eudora Welty Writer’s Symposium and the director of the creative writing program. Dunkelberg is originally from a little town in Iowa called Osage. That is where he lived until he received his high school diploma. He received his bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. He then went on to receive his master’s degree and doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Texas in Austin. He has been here at the W since 1994.
Q: How did you end up at MUW?
A: “I applied for a job. That was right after graduate school, and I answered an ad that was looking for someone who can teach literature. It was really general at that point. When you are trying to get a job as a teacher, you apply to a number of places all over the country, and you are happy if someone calls you for an interview. I really did not know that much about MUW until I came here for an interview, and I started to like the school as soon as I got on campus. It is a beautiful place to work and a great college to work with. ”
Q: Why were you interested in becoming a professor of English?
A: “I loved to read when I was a kid. I was very interested in creative writing, and then I got involved in translation. I also went on to study Dutch, German and French literatures. When you spend that much time doing it, I guess you end up wanting to teach it.”
Q: What have you learned from your students in your time here at MUW?
A: “After 20 years of being a professor, you learn a lot from the students in your classes. I love seeing them develop as writers from their freshman year until their senior year. Their insights and opinions on different literatures influence me and are really interesting. I also have learned a lot about Mississippi from just reading papers that my students have written.”
Q: What advice would you give to students who are considering being in your position?
A: “Write as much as you can and read a lot. You will grow a lot from reading. Don’t be afraid to get feedback from others. Learn from other writers and the problems that they encounter. Writing is the main thing, and you should really learn how to learn from reading other’s works.”