Had a great visit to my alma mater, Grinnell College, earlier this month.
Grinnell is located in a tiny town in the middle of Iowa off I-80. I had almost forgotten how beautiful the foliage is in autumn.
I was very excited to meet members of the English Department, including novelist Dean Bakopoulos and the poet Hai-Dang Phan.
(We’re pictured with curator Tilly Woodward in front of some amazing Kara Walker works that are part of a campus art exhibit referencing the American Civil War at the Faulconer Gallery.)
I really enjoyed meeting with students to talk about writing, both in Grinnell and in life after graduation. Here is the advice to students I gave in an interview with Scarlet and Black writer Queenster Nartey: http://www.thesandb.com/arts/alum-chai-returns-as-writergrinnell.html
(with student Queenster Nartey)
I gave a talk called “From Memory to Memoir: Writing More than You Know” as part of the Writers@Grinnell series: Writers@Grinnell
It was wonderful to re-connect with old friends, including my former French professor Victor S. Verrette (whose class on the French novel was so enlightening for me as a sophomore!):
and my former classmate, Henry Rietz, who is now a professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell:
and the biggest surprise of all was meeting the daughter of my former French advisor (Jan Gross): Laura Gross! I remember when Laura was born when I was a student. Now she herself is a scholar and artist who has worked with filmmaker Agnès Varda!
This was certainly a trip down memory lane, but it was also quite inspiring to see the exciting things that Grinnellians are up to these days!