By Brook Reeder
With his kind-hearted spirit, hardworking attitude, and professional experience, Professor Bill Broun has strengthened both the English department and the student-run newspaper here at East Stroudsburg University.
Growing up in Los Angeles, California as a small child and being raised in northeast Ohio, Broun considers himself a Midwesterner. He started his college career at University College, London, and continued his education at Miami University of Ohio. He went on to receive a masters of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in creative writing at the University of Houston.
While writing fiction as a hobby, Broun worked as a news reporter, a music journalist, an editor, as well as editor in chief at several newspapers in Texas. While in London, he worked as a copy editor of British newspapers and magazines. He also held staff positions at the Guardian and Architects Journal.
He has had pieces of writing featured in the Washington Post, the New York Tines and the Times – London. He has also had specialty publications in the Architects Journal and Publishers Weekly. His short fiction pieces, that typically explore the lives of urban underclass and the working class, have appeared in the Indiana Review, the Kenyon Review and Open City.
In 2002, Broun was appointed a resident fellow at Yale University, where he taught fiction writing, advanced composition and journalism for four years. During an interview, Broun stated, “I often like teaching professional writing classes that have as little to do with fiction as possible – so for me, classes like multimedia journalism and graduate copy editing classes help me get away from the discourse of fiction,” then explained, “which I like to keep sort of walled off like a walled garden away from my professional life.”
Broun has recently published his first novel, “Night of the Animals.” The novel takes place in the year 2052. As his website, billbroun.com, says, “all animal life on earth is threatened, and as a newly empowered king rules Britain with a brutal tyranny, an improbable hero rises from the streets of London.”
“That’s very hard to answer easily – it brought a lot of material ease to my life, at least more than I expected. I was able to move out of a bad neighborhood. It feels like a big accomplishment too – the fulfilment of a dream,” Broun answered after being asked how publishing a novel has changed his life.
“But that feeling fades and you need to keep writing,” he added.
After beginning his career here at ESU, Broun has impacted the English department as well as the Courier in especially positive ways. Many students, like myself, are grateful for the help and encouragement he provides in and outside of the classroom.
By relating to his students and becoming a “real” human being, students are comfortable approaching him with questions.
The English department has been impacted by Broun’s experiences and ability to collaborate with others.
“We have a great diversity of smart people with incredibly varied scholarly and professional degrees,” he said about the department.
He added how important communication is within the work environment as well.
“It’s critical,” he said. “That’s actually probably the absolute number one foundation for success. You have to think about everything and be communicative and honest with your writers and editors, and they especially have to be that way to each other.”
Broun’s emphasis on effective communication is what keeps the Courier running successfully. He exemplifies this idea in his classes by encouraging his students to work with one another and by being approachable to discuss any concerns.
“To be honest, I never aspired to teach college. I wanted to write fiction and find a way to finance the opportunity to write. Working as a professor sometimes offers the chance to write and teach writing,” he said after being asked what inspired him to become a professor.
Outside of ESU, Professor Bill Broun enjoys the simple things in life.
“Honestly, my biggest pleasure is spending time with my 11-year-old son and my wife. My favorite thing is when we pile on the sofa in front of a fire and watch movies and cuddle under a blanket,” he said.
Professor Broun is also looking forward to trout fishing this season as well.
“I just hope they haven’t all been poisoned by the scaling back of environmental regulations,” he added.
East Stroudsburg University was founded in 1893. Currently, the university enrolls approximately 6,800 students majoring in various fields such as education, exercise science, criminal justice and professional writing. Bill Broun’s hard working attitude and professional experience have greatly strengthened the English department. The student body looks forward to what he has the offer in the future.
Email Brook at: