Greetings from Chair Genaro Padilla

Although this is my first year serving as Chair of the Department, I have been teaching American literature in the Department for over 25 years.

Over these years, the nature and extent of the accolades my colleagues earn continue at a remarkable pace. I’ll point to only the most recent: Professor Namwali Serpell recently won the the Caine Prize for African Writing. Professor Kathleen Donegan won Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching award—our 27th win. Professor Scott Saul’s biography of comic Richard Pryor is fast becoming a best seller.

I’m delighted to report that your English Department at UC Berkeley continues to be the first ranked in the country. I take great pleasure in reporting that our graduate students continue to build admirable careers in departments across the country, and that our undergraduate alumni are enrolling in the most distinguished graduate and professional schools as well as contributing in innumerable ways to bettering our nation’s future.

I am excited to announce that our newsletter will be linked to our blog under the name The Wheeler Column. This new publication allows us to keep our alumni and friends informed of what’s going on in the department and provides an opportunity for you to continue participate in the intellectual community here in English.  If you didn’t receive a paper newsletter and would like one mailed to you in the future, please reach out to us at