Competition: US & Canada
Devoney Looser is a literary scholar who specializes in women’s writings, particularly of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is Professor of English at Arizona State University and is the author of three books. Her most recent title, The Making of Jane Austen (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), was named a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book (Nonfiction) and received the IHE Reader’s Choice Award. The book’s contents may be previewed in its three-minute trailer. Looser has edited several collections of essays, including The Cambridge Companion to Women’s Writing in the Romantic Period (2015), which she discusses in a video interview on the Cambridge Author Hub. Her deluxe anniversary edition of Sense and Sensibility will be published by Penguin Random House in late 2018.
Looser’s essays have appeared in such places as The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and the Times Literary Supplement. She has given interviews about Jane Austen on CNN and on radio programs in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. She writes occasionally on academic life for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
An avid roller skater, Looser has played flat-track roller derby as Stone Cold Jane Austen and is a featured subject in Deborah Yaffe’s book, Among the Janeites: Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom (2013). Looser received her own square in the New York Times Janeiac/Jane Austen Board Game (9 August 2013) and currently serves as faculty adviser to the ASU Derby Devils.
During her fellowship year, Looser is completing a biography of the once-celebrated and now largely forgotten sister novelists, Jane and Anna Maria Porter. Her book turns to their thousands of moving, unpublished letters, to make sense of what it meant to be early nineteenth-century female literary celebrities struggling to make ends meet. From their triumphant bestsellers, to their disappointing romantic entanglements with men, the Porter sisters were pioneering career women who came to believe they’d sacrificed private happiness for public fame.
Learn more about Looser’s work and work-in-progress on her website or on Twitter @devoneylooser.
Profile photograph by ASU