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English Prof Takes on Zombies

Here’s a W&L Halloween tale for you: “Zombies stumble into my class all the time.” So writes Chris Gavaler, visiting assistant professor of English, in an essay published on Oct. 29 in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Well, it’s not really a horror story. Chris is both writing about his creative-writing students, and responding to another Chronicle essay, “No More Zombies!” In that piece, an English professor at Truman State University tells why he has, in his words, “banned alt-worlding from my advanced creative-writing workshop. Told my students that their fiction had to take place in real environments with real people.”

Chris, on the other hand, holds that “all fiction writing is alt-worlding. There is no such thing as a work of fiction that takes place in the real world. Stories exist solely in words.” He just wants his students to write.

Read Chris’ entire essay at the link above; and check out his blog, “The Patron Saint of Superheroes,” where the self-described “mild-mannered professor” assumes “the powers of a novelist, teacher, playwright, and scholar.”