candidate statements for the 2020 elections

CANDIDATES FOR THE TWO
2021-2023 BOARD POSITIONS

in alphabetical order

KIRK CURNUTT
(Troy University)

I’m deeply appreciative of the opportunity to run for another term on the board.

For those who don’t know me, I’ve taught at Troy University since 1993, first in Montgomery for twenty-three years, then for the past five at our main campus in Troy, Alabama, where I oversee a multi-campus, multi-platform department of about 80 faculty. I joined the Hemingway Society in 1991 (almost thirty years ago!) while a PhD candidate at LSU as a student of J. Gerald Kennedy. Most recently, I co-edited with Suzanne del Gizzo The New Hemingway Studies for Cambridge University Press, to which I also contributed an essay on biographies since 2000. My main contributions to Hemingway studies focus on the Key West years: I have contributed an essay on “After the Storm” to the forthcoming Reader’s Guide to Hemingway’s Winner Take Nothing and wrote the guide to To Have and Have Not (2017), both for Kent State University Press. Way back when I was a brunette I served as program chair for the Key West conference (2004), and since 2017 I have spoken on Hemingway on behalf of the Society at the Key West Arts and Historical Society’s summer symposiums.

I’ve served on the board since 2005, and at the risk of becoming the John Dingell of this great body of scholars, I accepted a 2020 nomination due to the responsibilities I’ve undertaken for the Society. Since 2013 I’ve produced seven issues of the Hemingway Society Newsletter, growing us from eight pages in 2014 to (gulp) forty-eight this year. As a member of the Media Committee I’ve been part of the team that has helped grow our online outreach, whether by contributing interviews and brief articles to the Society blog or by helping plan our summer online webinars as a substitute for the lamentably delayed Montana/Wyoming conference. Since 2007 I have served as permissions editor for the board, dealing with numerous requests and inquiries and (hopefully) helping scholars navigate the very tricky waters of copyright and fair use. In 2018 I helped broker a relationship between Scribner/Simon and Schuster and The Strand Magazine that allowed the latter to publish “A Room on the Garden Side” and for attendees at that conference to receive off-prints of the piece. I’ve also spent twenty-five years now serving on the Kennedy Library liaison committee. One of my great pleasures is working with Hilary Justice and Stephen Plotkin on ways to facilitate scholarship through JFK access.

I would relish the opportunity to volunteer and serve the Hemingway Society for another term. Many thanks for your consideration.


VERNA KALE
(Penn State)

Thank you for nominating me for re-election to the board of the Hemingway Society and Foundation.  I hold a PhD in English from Penn State, have more than fifteen years’ experience teaching at the college level at Hampden Sydney College and Penn State University, and am currently Assistant Research Professor in English at Penn State and Associate Editor of the Hemingway Letters Project.  I have published a biography of Hemingway (Reaktion/U of Chicago P, 2016), edited a collection of essays on teaching Hemingway and gender (Kent State UP, 2016), and have contributed essays and shorter pieces to The Hemingway Review and several edited collections.  Most recently my work has appeared in The New Hemingway Studies edited by Suzanne del Gizzo and Kirk Curnutt (Cambridge UP, 2020) and The Conversation. I enjoyed being interviewed for the forthcoming documentary Ernest Hemingway by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and sharing one of my favorite “true sentences” in a forthcoming One True Sentence episode of One True Podcast with Mark Cirino and Michael Von Cannon. I am currently co-editing Volume 6 of the Letters with Sandra Spanier and Miriam B. Mandel.

I have enjoyed serving on the board these past three years and, with your support, I hope to continue to do so. In addition to the performing the general duties of any board member, I also serve as treasurer of the Foundation and chair of the Founders Fellowship committee, and I’ve worked closely this term with PEN America, the media committee, our conference planning committee, and (of course) the Letters Project.  This work is so rewarding, and I believe in our mission: “awakening, sustaining an interest in, promoting, fostering, stimulating, supporting, improving, and developing literature and all forms of literary composition and expression.”

I keep this mission in mind as I think ahead to how the Hemingway Foundation and Society can navigate some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced.  I will work to keep our research, publications, conferences, and shared love for Ernest Hemingway alive in the face of these hardships.  I recognize the necessity of bringing more students, independent scholars, and creative writers into our circle, expanding our outreach, and diversifying our programming. I’m happy to answer questions members have and to hear and share ideas about what the Society can do to remain an active, important, and sustainable presence. Thank you for your support!


ROBERT TAYLOR
(Florida Institute of Technology)

First, I have always loved the works of Ernest Hemingway. The power of his language, his ability to tell a great story, and his desire to “write it true” always resonates with me. An opportunity to give something back to the man and his literary legacy are very appealing personally. The chance to work closely with others who share that passion leads me to offer myself as a Board candidate.

My professional experience has been quite varied, and I think potentially useful to the Board of the Hemingway Society. For over fifteen years, I served on the Board of the Florida Historical Society, which included a two-year term as its President. During that time, I gained considerable familiarity with board operations, and what it takes to make a board effective. My responsibilities included helping organize the Society’s annual meeting and its academic programs. During my tour of duty the FHS Board finally secured a permanent home for the Society in a government surplus building in Cocoa, Florida.

I also served a six-year appointment to the Board of the Florida Humanities Council, the state’s endowment for the humanities. This was another chance to participate in and observe board of directors’ functions. My primary duty here was to serve on the Grants Committee and evaluate some thirty incoming proposals per year. Lots of reading, but it gave me priceless knowledge of what makes a grant proposal successful and what causes it not to be funded.

My current position as Associate Dean and Head of the School of Arts and Communication here at Florida Institute of Technology teaches me every day how to be a better academic administrator and understand diverse disciplines. All the above illustrate to me what a good board member, and colleague are, and I am prepared to be one for the Hemingway Society Board. Thank you for considering me for this honor.

2020 Board Election Voting
Begins HERE November 1st
and Ends November 30th