Advancing the Research on Heritage Language Speakers

This month we published Heritage and School Language Literacy Development in Migrant Children edited by Raphael Berthele and Amelia Lambelet. In this post Raphael introduces the book and reveals how it came about.

The investigation of transfer phenomena is a classic topic in multilingualism research. Scholars have developed useful tools and frameworks for investigating crosslinguistic influence on linguistic structure and meaning: when patterns in an individual’s speech or writing can be compared to patterns known from dialects or languages that are in contact, positive or negative transfer can be identified. By contrast, the transfer of literacy skills, for example in the form of reading skills or knowledge about text genres, is trickier to investigate. Heritage and School Language Literacy Development in Migrant Children addresses this unsolved problem. Several studies focusing on different language pairs are presented; they deploy diverse methods, but all attempt to measure the impact of skills developed in one or more languages on the development of those same skills in another language. Languages investigated include – among others – Albanian, Turkish, Portuguese, French, German and Russian.

A considerable part of this book is devoted to a longitudinal study of primary school children who are heritage language speakers of Portuguese in Switzerland. This is the fruit of a project that was directed by the book’s two editors. Intrigued by some rather unexpected findings and questions that arose during this project, we contacted colleagues who had been investigating similar issues but with different methods and tasks. We realized that our work was complementary, and that they were able to fill some of the gaps we had identified in our data and in our thinking. That is how this book project was born. We are confident that it is a new and different contribution to the field, that puts into question some – at least in our view – rather problematic assumptions about the interdependence of heritage languages and school languages. We therefore hope that our contribution will nurture future thinking about research on heritage language speakers.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Crosslinguistic Influence and Distinctive Patterns of Language Learning edited by Anne Golden, Scott Jarvis and Kari Tenfjord.

Tourism Resilience: More Than Just “Bouncing Back” from Adversity

This month we are publishing Tourism and Resilience by C. Michael Hall, Girish Prayag and Alberto Amore. In this post the authors explain the concept of resilience in tourism and comment on their case study of the Great Barrier Reef.

The environment seems to be becoming increasingly challenging for tourism businesses, destinations, and the people who work and live in them. In 2017 alone we have seen a range of weather and climate change related events, including severe hurricanes in the United States and the Caribbean, as well as in Ireland, while at the same time there have been major forest fires in the western United States and in Portugal. We also have political concerns in the form of terrorism, Brexit, the Trump administration, North Korea, and multi-national tax avoidance, while at the same time tourism is having to respond to economic and technological shifts such as automation, big data, and disruptive innovation.

Resilience is the magnitude of disturbance that can be tolerated before a system moves to a different state, controlled by a different set of processes. Given the challenges of crises and disasters, as well as ongoing “normal” change, for tourism, it is no surprise that the concept of resilience is seen as a response to the call for new definitions, concepts and understandings to frame the many ecological, socio-economic and political challenges of tourism. Resilience thinking is therefore a response to the urgent need for broader and different views of the tourism system. This clearly includes destination management at large, as the vulnerability of places and communities can no longer be ignored, but also considers how businesses and individuals are connected both within and beyond destinations.

The notion of a tourism system is widely used in tourism education and research but often there is not enough consideration of what this really means in looking at the sector as a whole, as well as how it responds to change. The aim of our book therefore is to provide scholars and practitioners with a multi-layered view of resilience from individual, organizational and destination perspectives. We take a multi-disciplinary approach to develop the first monograph on tourism and resilience. As well as a strong analytical and theoretical focus, and a comprehensive discussion of the literature, the book builds on the authors first-hand tourism research from post-earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand, and other locations, and includes a range of different cases from around the world to illustrate key ideas and concepts.

A key message of the book is that tourism resilience is more than just “bouncing-back” from adversity. Every destination and tourism business goes through incremental and sudden change, and we identify inherent vulnerabilities in the tourism system and how they can be managed. To a certain extent, resilience in tourism reinforces principles and notions inherent to sustainable tourism. Resilience thinking is valuable because of its focus on connectedness and the need to move away from the continual separation of ecological, social and economic impacts. However, while some may see resilience as the “new sustainability” it is important to note that, although related, resilience thinking has its own specific contributions regarding the capacity to absorb change, learning and self-organisation, and adaptation. As part of developing a better understanding of the tourism system, considerations of resilience in tourism therefore need to think of what is happening at scales above and below the main level of focus in order both to explain change and, in some cases, to intervene to create desired change.

The case of the Great Barrier Reef is an emblematic example. The bleaching of the reef as a result of climate change has put a renowned tourist and natural heritage site in grave danger. However, the capacity of the reef to adapt is also affected by pollution and run-off from onshore practices. To understand the problems the reef faces one therefore needs to be able to understand the global dimension of climate change as well as realise that a marine system is deeply affected by what happens on land. System management must therefore be not only multi-scaled but also recognise the very real implications of connectivity to what some may have previously regarded as being “outside” of reef management. The future of many tourism stakeholders as well as the reef ecosystem is at stake and there is a need for systemic long-term destination planning to enhance the resilience of resource and the destination. As we note in the book, sustainable development can only be achieved in sufficiently resilient socio-ecosystems. Resilience allows a system to have a future, but this requires a much better appreciation of the nature of the tourism system and the importance of system thinking than what has usually been the case. In other words, government and other authorities need to see the pressures on the Great Barrier Reef in the context of “joined up” problems rather than seeing land management, reef management, and climate change policy as being separate.

This notion of connecting the pieces is central to the book. Change – moving from one state to another – is actually the norm in tourism as elsewhere. But what is important, from an industry and ethical perspective, is what sort of change and what sort of state we want to move to and how we are going to get there. Hopefully, this book will help provide some sort of frame by which we can inform and improve our thinking about change and direction in tourism as well as how we are going to get there.

Alberto Amore, Girish Prayag and C. Michael Hall

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Crisis and Disaster Management for Tourism by Brent W. Ritchie.

The Internationalization of Japanese Higher Education

This month we are publishing English-Medium Instruction in Japanese Higher Education edited by Annette Bradford and Howard Brown. In this post Annette gives us an overview of what we can expect from the book.

Japanese universities are internationalizing. They are enrolling more international students, sending more students on study abroad programs and infusing an international outlook into many of their degree programs. To help achieve this, spurred by recent government policies for internationalization, universities are rapidly increasing the number of courses and programs taught in English.

In English-Medium Instruction in Japanese Higher Education we provide a thorough picture of the growth in English-medium instruction (EMI) by bringing together researchers from across Japan to provide an on-the-ground perspective of recent developments.

The book is organized into six main sections. The first section, ‘English-Medium Instruction in Context,’ examines the social and policy environment that has allowed the rapid expansion of EMI in Japan. In Chapter 1, we describe the current state of EMI using the ROAD-MAPPING framework conceptualized in 2014 by European scholars Emma Dafouz and Ute Smit. In Chapters 2 and 3 of the book, Hiroko Hashimoto and Bern Mulvey address government education policy and its implications for EMI.

Section 2 of the book, ‘The Implementation of English-Medium Instruction in Japan,’ looks at how programs are planned and developed. In Chapter 4, Hiroyuki Takagi examines EMI courses in relation to the internationalization of the curriculum. In Chapter 5, Beverley Yamamoto and Yukiko Ishikura explore how an entire degree program taught in English can develop and find its place in the university community.

Section 3, ‘Challenges and Solutions for English-Medium Instruction in Japan,’ deals with some of the difficulties facing EMI stakeholders. Chapter 6 by Gregory Poole discusses institutional identity and administrative culture as impediments to EMI implementation. In Chapter 7, Hiroshi Ota and Kiyomi Horiuchi analyze the accessibility of Japanese universities’ English-taught programs for foreign students. In Chapter 8, Sarah Louisa Birchley takes a marketing perspective, examining if EMI programs have reached their full potential.

In Section 4, ‘The Faculty and Student Experience,’ authors consider the roles of faculty members and student participation in and opinions of EMI. Chapter 9 by Chris Haswell focuses on how Asian varieties of English are perceived by domestic and international EMI students in Japan. Juanita Heigham looks at the broader campus experience in Chapter 10, examining the experience of non-Japanese speaking international EMI students as an essential and yet invisible part of internationalization programs. In Chapter 11, Sae Shimauchi presents a study of gender differences in the international outlook of EMI students. In Chapter 12, Bernard Susser focuses on faculty members, and explores his own journey transitioning from language teaching to EMI. Miki Horie reports on the training needs of EMI faculty in Chapter 13.

Section 5 of the book, “Curriculum Contexts”, shifts gears away from policy and research questions and highlights specific EMI practices at three universities around Japan. In Chapter 14, Bethany Iyobe and Jia Li draw attention to the importance of integration and cooperation in a small EMI program. Chapter 15 by Jim McKinley looks at how an established EMI program is transforming in light of a new understanding of the role of English. In Chapter 16, Nilson Kunioshi and Harushige Nakakoji profile how EMI is being implemented for science and engineering students at a top tier university.

In the final section of the book, “Future Directions for English-Medium Instruction”, we wrap up with a look at where EMI might go from here. In Chapter 17, Akira Kuwamura looks at both ethical and practical objections to EMI that have been raised in the literature. And in the final chapter, we, the co-editors, take a look back at an earlier example of innovation and reform in Japanese higher education. We compare IT with the recent happenings in EMI to question whether EMI can become fully embedded within the fabric of Japanese higher education.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Rethinking Language and Culture in Japanese Education edited by Shinji Sato and Neriko Musha Doerr. 

Publishing FAQs: The Production Process

The production stage is an exciting time in the publishing process, as a manuscript begins its journey from Word document to printed book. However, there is a lot of work to do before the book is ready for publication! In this post Sarah answers some of the most common questions she gets asked during the production process.

Sarah hard at work checking proofs

Will my manuscript be copy-edited and proofread?

Yes, we ensure that every manuscript we publish is copy-edited. We will ask authors to proofread their typeset proofs but I will also be checking them throughout the production process.

Will I get to choose my own cover design and image?

If your book is being published in one of our series (most will be) there will be a series design to adhere to. We are very happy to take on board authors’ preferences re a cover image (if the series design includes one) and background colour. Check out our blog post on book cover FAQs for more information.

How long does the production process take?

From sending the final manuscript for copy-editing and typesetting to the arrival of a printed book usually takes around 5-6 months. This can be done more quickly but for marketing purposes it is better to get advance information (ISBNs, prices, ToC) out 6 months ahead of publication. We also like to have enough time to ensure we are publishing a high-quality volume and not rush things out in a very short time.

Do I need to adhere to a specific style/layout in my manuscript?

We provide guidelines for authors but we are flexible in terms of manuscript layout and font. We are currently working on a requested stylesheet for book editors to send to their chapter authors.

Do you follow APA referencing guidelines?

No, our reference style most closely resembles the Harvard referencing style.

How should I send my figures/photographs?

If you have a lot of photographs to submit with your manuscript it’s best to submit these separately as tiff files (jpegs are also acceptable). If possible they should be minimum 300dpi.

Can I add/change things after my manuscript has been finalised and the production process has begun?

We would strongly discourage changing large parts of your manuscript once we have sent the final version to the copy-editor/typesetter. You will have a chance to proofread the typeset pdf and make changes (we would expect these to be mostly minor at this stage) at the initial proofing stage.

When can I expect initial proofs?

We ask our copy-editing/typesetting suppliers to return the pdf proofs to us 6 weeks from their receipt of the manuscript. This deadline can depend on how fast authors respond to any copy-editing queries which the suppliers send to them directly.

How should I return my proof corrections?

Most authors email a list of corrections which I will transfer to the proofs while I am checking them. Increasing numbers of authors are supplying corrections made directly to the pdf. We are also happy to accept hard copy corrections through the post!

When should I start my index?

It is best to start the index at revised proof stage (i.e. once the initial corrections have been made) so pagination is unlikely to change.

How long does a book take to be printed?

We ask our printers to send the printed book to us 3 weeks after they’ve received the final proofs/cover from us. We do not announce publication until the printed books have been checked in-house and delivered and booked in at our UK distributor.

The Ebooks page on our website

Will my book also be available as an ebook?

Yes! We publish all our titles as library pdfs, and in Epub and Kindle formats. Please see the Ebooks page on our website for more information on where they can be purchased.

Will I receive complimentary copies of my book?

Yes, authors and editors of books will receive printed copies of their books (if you’re in doubt about how many, please consult your contract or contact your commissioning editor). For edited books, each contributor will receive either an e-version of the book or a printed copy.

Sarah

Following in the Footsteps: Reflections of a Heritage, Literary and Film Tourist

This month we are publishing Heritage, Screen and Literary Tourism by Sheela Agarwal and Gareth Shaw. In this post Sheela reflects on her own experiences as a heritage, literary and film tourist.

Tourism is about fulfilling expectations, fuelling imaginations and making dreams come true. It is about stirring emotions, providing unforgettable experiences about places, objects, people and events. Great skill is required by producers of such experiences to engage audiences in the reconstruction of the real and the imagined. Stories about the past, present and future are told, and tourists are encouraged to participate and immerse themselves in the story-telling.  Since an early age, I have always loved stories and learning to read revealed a world of different endings, some sad and some happy. Equally, I have always loved watching films and TV adaptations, particularly period dramas, so much so that in the summer of 1984, I begged my parents to rent out a video recorder for one month, paying the £20 fee out of my pocket money for the privilege. In an age before the internet, numerous trips to ‘Blockbuster’ video rentals were made as two to three films were watched daily. After the month was up, the recorder went back to the rental shop but was soon replaced after a visit to an electrical store.

It is my love of stories which has fuelled many visits to places that feature within them and indeed it is this fascination which has been at the heart of the inspiration for this book. In essence I am the typical heritage, film and literary tourist. I have many childhood memories of visiting the North Yorkshire Dales on family holidays and one of my very favourite places was Howarth, home to the Brontë sisters, authors of classic works such as Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights. Whilst wandering through the streets of Howarth, following in the footsteps of these three strong independent women (as well as thousands of tourists), who had to write under pseudonyms, I imagined and relived their excitement running from the Post Office, clutching copies of their newly published books. A visit to their home, the parsonage, sparked similar imaginings of the family sitting around the fireplace sharing their stories and working on their novels, as did walking on the Moors; in the distance and in my mind, I observed ‘Heathcliff’ galloping through the heather, and ‘Jane Eyre’ weeping for ‘Mr Rochester’.

The infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign at the entrance to Auschwitz

Another memorable visit to a place steeped in heritage and the object of films, TV adaptations and books, and which is captured within this text, was to Auschwitz, near Krakow in Poland. It proved to be a heart-wrenching, deeply emotional experience for me. Even now when I look back on my visit, I can hardly believe that humankind could reach such depths of depravity; how could there be such disregard for human suffering. For those who have never been so unfortunate to have ever braved a visit to Auschwitz, it is a deeply harrowing experience. Once an extermination camp embroiled with unimaginable human suffering and fear, it is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Poland. It is however, an unconventional tourist attraction in the sense that it does not encompass fun and no laughter can be heard. It is a very sombre place. Upon entry, you are taken into a cinema and shown footage from the camp; some of this was shot whilst the camp was in full operation whilst some of it was filmed upon liberation. Silence engulfed the cinema as we all stared disbelieving at the thousands of filmed emaciated bodies; some were living, but many were dead. Exiting the cinema, we were then taken on a small guided tour around the camp. ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ or ‘work means freedom’ decorates the entrance gate to the camp, providing a chilling and ironic lie to all. Even now I can feel the fear and suffering through the stark uniformed blocks of prison cells and stories of heroism and brutality are shared in equal quantities.

The entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Departing Auschwitz, I was then taken to Auschwitz–Birkenau, a short 10 minute drive from the main camp. Here, the iconic entrance and railway spur transports you immediately into the film, Schindler’s List. It isn’t hard to imagine the trains rolling into the station, one after the other, ladened with frightened Jewish prisoners. They arrive tired and disoriented as they are ‘sorted’ by Nazi soldiers. Some are directed straight to the gas chamber whilst others to an unhuman existence. I could still hear the screams of distress as families are torn apart, never to see each other again.

It is a prison within a prison that is impossible to escape. It is encased with multiple rows of barbed wire fences and sentry points at every five meters along its perimeter. As I walked along the station, I felt an overwhelming need to cry and indeed, in the taxi home I shed many tears in despair.

Prof. Sheela Agarwal, Plymouth University, UK; sagarwal@plymouth.co.uk

Prof. Gareth Shaw, Exeter University, UK; g.shaw@exeter.ac.uk

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Film-Induced Tourism by Sue Beeton.

A New Way of Exploring the Value of Poetry

This month we published We Need to Talk: A New Method for Evaluating Poetry by Michael Theune and Bob Broad. In this post the authors explain how their book invites us to explore the value of poetry in a new way.

It is difficult to overstate the role evaluation plays in contemporary American poetry. Contest judges, anthologists, editors, critics, workshop leaders and participants, readers, and last but certainly not least, poets themselves – always judging which word, image, form, line break, ending, &c, &c, &c is best – all engage in assessment. And yet, there is generally little examination of the dynamics of evaluation and the criteria at its core.

It’s not that people engaged in contemporary American poetry don’t want this. Many do. But axiological inquiry is stymied both by the misconception that there are only two ways to approach value – via false objectivity or else acknowledging that value is sealed away in subjective solipsism – and by the traditional approaches of the humanities: that to more closely consider value one should read more carefully and think more deeply about the issue.

Our book, We Need to Talk: A New Method for Evaluating Poetry, approaches value differently and recommends a new kind of axiological investigation for poetry. We Need to Talk understands value to be contingent, that is, comprised of the ever-shifting – but not unknowable – elements produced by numerous forces, both textual and contextual, from the social and political to the aesthetic and the personal. Additionally, We Need to Talk recommends exploring value in a new way: by empirically studying the conversations of poetry assessors.

Such conversations occur frequently in contemporary American poetry. Teams of anthologists and journal editors engage in them, as do panels of contest judges. So do MFA faculty as they determine which applicants will be accepted for their program. The typical poetry workshop is one long conversation. The material is there to be collected, and then studied. And the results – certainly not guessed at, but rather empirically present, and often very surprising – demand articulation and publication.

We Need to Talk doesn’t offer facile answers. Rather, it offers a method by which anyone interested in contemporary American poetry can more closely examine what they really value in the verse they admire. Still, this is significant. Whenever evaluative decisions have consequence, it is incumbent upon the decision-makers to be as aware as possible of the values upon which their judgements depend. Then, they can share those values, clarifying their work. Or else, if their revealed values are not those they wish to adhere to, they can work to change them. Either way, the method at the heart of We Need to Talk promises to have a salutary effect on the processes of assessment ubiquitous in American poetry today.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Changing Creative Writing in America edited by Graeme Harper. 

 

The Importance of Intercultural Understanding in Today’s World

This month we published Teaching Intercultural Competence Across the Age Range edited by Manuela Wagner, Dorie Conlon Perugini and Michael Byram. In this post the editors explain how their book addresses the challenges involved in teaching intercultural competence.

The importance of intercultural understanding cannot be overstated in today’s world. It is no surprise then that educationists of all kinds create task forces to provide tools to help students engage in meaningful and successful intercultural dialogue. As language educators often point out, there are substantial challenges. First, it is difficult to apply theory in practice, and teachers cannot easily imagine how intercultural competence theories play out in the classroom. Furthermore, it appears to be impossible to teach intercultural competence if students do not yet speak the target language or if they are young language learners.

With our publication Teaching Intercultural Competence Across the Age Range we address these challenges. We apply sound theory of Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) (Byram, 1997) in our practice. We debunk the myth that intercultural competence can only be taught to students with higher language proficiency and also provide examples of how colleagues can benefit from collaborations in order to implement theory in practice.

We combined a graduate course on theories of ICC with guided collaboration between the graduate students and classroom teachers. Together they designed and implemented innovative teaching units integrating ICC into existing units and practices in systematic ways. In the book we show how to create a community of practice consisting of researchers/mentors, graduate students, and teachers to teach ICC and give students new insights into their own and other cultures within and beyond their local and national environment. Each teacher/graduate student pair co-authored a chapter in which they shared their unit plans, assessments, and experience in implementing the units, meaning that all the participants in this project had multiple roles: teacher, learner, researcher.

Our intention with this publication is to show one way of tackling the teaching of complex issues. Although we want to emphasize that each context in teaching will require a customised curriculum, we hope that teachers as well as curriculum designers, program administrators and teacher educators will find the detailed unit descriptions helpful for creating their own units in a variety of contexts. Our emphasis on collaboration, both the benefits and the challenges, reflects our belief in the power of learning and acting together. One important lesson we learned is that seeming bumps in the road often represent learning opportunities. As readers will see, this also reflects the model of ICC which enables students to learn how to mediate between different groups of people and to apply criticality in the here and now.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like From Principles to Practice in Education for Intercultural Citizenship edited by Michael Byram, Irina Golubeva, Han Hui and Manuela Wagner.

Behind the Scenes… What Happens to an Accepted Manuscript?

Once a manuscript has undergone external peer review, been suitably revised by the author and is approved for publication by the series editors (where relevant), it is accepted for publication. We then ask the author to complete an author questionnaire and checklist and start to get the manuscript moving towards production. But what are we doing exactly? In this post, Laura outlines the small but vital stages between editorial and production.

Commissioning Editors with books from their respective series

The first thing a Commissioning Editor does is book a slot on our production schedule. Each month we publish a certain number of books, typically between 4 and 6, so there are a limited number of places available. The Commissioning Editor will most likely have already provisionally pencilled in the manuscript well in advance of it being accepted, using their knowledge about the extent of the revisions required and how busy the author and series editors’ schedules are. But it is only now that a publication date is set and finalised. At this point it is therefore extremely helpful to us if authors keep to deadlines they have promised!

Once the Commissioning Editor has received all the final files and supporting documents, they will check through the manuscript one last time. They ensure that the author has submitted all the documents (table of contents, each chapter, references, appendices etc) and confirm that permission has been cleared for all material from external sources. They will then update the book’s proposal P&L with the latest word count, as we use this to estimate the pagination and price.

The book is then ready for the Commissioning Editor to schedule for discussion at the next in-house editorial meeting, usually held weekly. For those of us not involved in the book until this stage, this might be the first we’ve heard of it since the proposal was accepted, often some years previously! At the meeting we discuss and approve the title; make a final decision about the format (whether it will be published in paperback and hardback simultaneously) and approximate the print run.

With all of the above finalised, the Commissioning Editor is now ready to hand the book over for production and marketing. In order to make the handover process a smooth one and to help impart as much of their knowledge about the work to the rest of us as possible, they complete a handover sheet. The handover sheet splits naturally into three sections: key details about the work, then a production section, followed by marketing information.

The key details section is where we store absolute final information about the book, mainly what we decided on at the editorial meeting. It is where we look if we cannot remember whether we did decide to remove a comma from a title or exactly which subtitle we eventually chose! It is therefore like gold dust as it is vital that we are consistent, once we have made a decision: as soon as data starts to leave our database, it is sometime hard to find where it has gone and overwrite it.

Sarah, our Production Manager, hard at work

Next comes the production section where the Commissioning Editor will tell Sarah, our Production Manager, and Flo, who does the covers, information about the book. Sections include whether there is a preference for British or another variety of English; if the author already has a particular idea for the cover and if we have agreed anything special with the author, perhaps with regard to the layout or format. We also tell Sarah about what she might expect when working with the author. This includes things such as if one is taking the lead (in the case of multiple authors) or whether we know the author is about to go on leave. This is important as production runs to deadlines which are much firmer than those in editorial often are.

Finally comes the marketing parts of the handover. The Commissioning Editor writes the blurbs, suggests subject categories and says who to approach for cover endorsements. They will also advise the marketing department on the book’s highlights; note any geographical contexts featured in the book (which might be helpful for our local sales reps); list which of our other books it links with and state any other key selling points of the work. They will also let us know any bright ideas they have for any special, out-of-the-ordinary marketing!

We find that handing a manuscript over in this way works really well. Ultimately, the Commissioning Editor is the person in the office who knows most about the book and the more of their knowledge they can share with the rest of us, the more likely we are to have a smooth, enjoyable and successful publication.

Laura

What is the Future of Creative Writing in America?

This month we published Changing Creative Writing in America edited by Graeme Harper. In this post, Graeme explains the inspiration behind the book.

Not much more than a teenager, and long before I had even visited the USA, I read the recollections of Malcolm Bradbury and William Golding, both later knighted for their work in British letters, and Golding a Nobel Laureate, about their experiences of creative writing workshops in American colleges. From their British point of view, creative writing in American higher education was certainly intriguing – a combination of vibrant literary culture making, emoting attendees at what appeared to be a self-help group, and some worrisome naiveté. In any case, as creative writers, both Bradbury and Golding couldn’t help but be fascinated by the phenomenon, as well as by its increasing popularity.

My own predilections, having been resident in various parts of the world at various times, were already eclectic; appreciating both the American point of view and the British, wondering on the attitudes of each, and thinking a critical eye might well be applied productively to either one, and both in direct contrast, and to other largely unmined evidence of how creative writing manifested itself in the world’s universities and colleges – topics that later fed into my graduate study and to my editing of the journal New Writing: the International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing and the New Writing Viewpoints (Multilingual Matters) book series.

30 years later, and me now an established resident here in the USA, in February 2017 I attended the conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the American “Association of Writers and Writing Programs” (AWP). Held in Washington DC, and billed as “now the largest literary conference in North America”, to my mind that AWP conference and its clearly celebratory nature raised more questions than it answered, and certainly spurred on the writing and editing of Changing Creative Writing in America in ways predictable and unpredictable.

Predictably, there are writers in this book, such as Kate Haake, Tim Mayers, Dianne Donnelly, Stephanie Vanderslice and Pat Bizzaro who some people will associate with the increased pursuit here of what is generally called “Creative Writing Studies”, or the critical study of creative writing practices, results and pedagogies. Many in the fields of Composition and Rhetoric in the USA will also recognize the Foreword writer, Joe Moxley, whose 1989 book, Creative Writing in America forms an intellectual and pedagogic backdrop to this current book. Less predictably, there are other contributors who might not be so well known to readers, and who are largely situated between creative and critical activities as varied (or some exploring creative writing might indeed say, “as connected”) as Literary Studies, Composition and Rhetoric, and New Media and Film Studies. These are also current voices, contributing voices, and vibrant voices, perhaps to Creative Writing Studies, perhaps simply to the question of where Creative Writing currently lives in the American educational context. All in this book pursue an investigation and a declaration of where we are now in Creative Writing teaching and learning in the USA, where the past informs this contemporary position, and where we might productively progress.

Changing Creative Writing in America is largely a positive book, celebrating what we might achieve – but it is not without its posed challenges, challenges to us all, calls for not stasis but for concerted change. It is in that challenging, in those desires for change, that we might well find the dynamic future of Creative Writing in America.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like What We Talk about When We Talk about Creative Writing edited by Anna Leahy.

New series: Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching

In January 2018 we will be publishing Language Teacher Psychology edited by Sarah Mercer and Achilleas Kostoulas, which is the first book in our new series, Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching. In this post, series editors Sarah Mercer and Stephen Ryan introduce the new series and explain the inspiration behind it. 

Both of us started our careers in the classroom as language teachers and it was there that we first developed our fascination with the differences we noted in how our learners approached their learning … or did not, as the case may be. Little did we know back then just where that fascination would take us. From those initial sparks began an ongoing interest in language learning psychology. Our curiosity led us to seek ways to understand what made our learners tick and, somewhat inadvertently, into the exciting world of educational psychology. Once exposed to these – at least to us – new ideas, we then became interested in how best to apply these insights in our teaching. It was classroom practice that triggered our early interest and that practical focus continues to be a key driver for us in our research and we hope in this new Multilingual Matters series too.

Over time, our own understandings of psychology have grown and become – we like to think – more nuanced. In the same way, and over a similar timeframe, a new academic field has grown, both in scale and sophistication, around in interest in the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching (PLLT). One of the great joys for us in recent years has been the discovery of many like-minded, curious teachers/teacher-researchers/researchers looking to explore the potential of educational psychology theory and research in an attempt to better understand language teaching and learning. For many years, discussions of psychology in language education were dominated by the concept of learner motivation and while that remains a key area of inquiry, we are now seeing a whole range of other topics moving into focus. In addition to motivation, the new field covers various dimensions of the self, identity, affect, cognition, attributions, personality, strategies, self-regulation, and agency among others. A distinguishing trait of this new field is that it seeks to explore the connections between these concepts as opposed to separating them from each other and attempting to analyse them in isolation. Another key shift has been a growing attention to teacher psychology. While there is a strong body of research in certain areas, large domains of teacher psychology have remained almost completely unexamined in the field of language education. Given the tight connections between learner and teacher psychology, it is surprising we know so little about what makes such key stakeholders in classroom life function and potentially flourish in their professional roles.

The first book in the series, Language Teacher Psychology

As a part of the emergence of this new field, there has been an accompanying increase in the number of publications with a PLLT focus. At first, these were scattered across publishing houses, but we felt that there was a need to bring them together under one roof to make it easier for people to find related works, to see connections across areas of research and practice, and to foster cooperation rather than further fragmentation. Multilingual Matters already housed many key PLLT publications within its broader SLA series and it is from that highly successful series that the new PLLT was born. The birth of the new PLLT series has coincided with the further growth of a biennial conference dedicated to the field as well as the formation of a professional association for those working in the area. It is tremendously exciting to witness the new series taking shape and we feel enormously privileged to be a part of this innovative new project. We can already see some thrilling publications on the horizon as academics from across the globe come forward to share their work on PLLT through the series. We hope you will enjoy reading the books that will make up the new series and we also hope that some of you may consider making your own contribution in the future.

For more information about the Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching series, please see our website. Book proposals for this series should be sent to Laura Longworth.