In both my scholarly work and my creative writing, I examine time and time travel. I especially like archeology and geology, as those fields deal with materials from the past that often surface in the present and become a way for people to have a physical encounter with the past.
As a lifelong reader, Professor Virginia Zimmerman, English, is drawn to realistic fiction with elements of magic thrown in. She also explores magical realism as the author of a children's novel, to be published in fall 2015 by Clarion Books. Two of her main characters are children who discover a poem that makes people disappear and become erased from memory. The children must figure out how to undo the spell before they too succumb.
"The book is about loss and memory. There is another character, an aged poet with Alzheimer's, and I approach memory loss from that angle as well. It also contains a lot of poetry with the children learning how to read poetry," Zimmerman says. "It's definitely a book for kids who like to read and who love books, which is who I was. It's based on a myth from Macbeth – that the witches' curse is an actual magic spell, and that's why productions of Macbeth are supposedly cursed. I started with that legend and developed a story about how Shakespeare incorporated magic into his works."
Zimmerman, who teaches Victorian literature in addition to children's and young adult literature, published her first children's book, La Finestra del Temps (A Sketch in Time), in Spain in 2012. She also researches literature that poses interesting questions about the nature of time and has published articles on topics including Thomas Hardy's poems, the Harry Potter books and 19-century games for children.
"In both my scholarly work and my creative writing, I examine time and time travel. I especially like archeology and geology, as those fields deal with materials from the past that often surface in the present that become a way for people to have a physical encounter with the past," she says. "If you walk the streets of Pompeii, for instance, it's like you've journeyed back in time. I'm looking at how time, archeology and geology merge."
Posted Sept. 15, 2014