Mariam Sobh wearing a white hijab
March 04, 2013

Miriam Cooke and Hijab Trendz

Have you ever used writing as an outlet? Today on Focus, we examined stereotypes about Arab women with Professor Miriam Cooke, who studies how Islamic women empower themselves through writing. Then, Mariam Sobh, a native of Champaign and the founder of the fashion blog Hijab Trendz joins the program. 

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November 06, 2012

Exploring JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit

This September marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. An estimated 100 million copies of the book have been sold since its publication, but interest in The Hobbit sees no signs of abating, as the first of a trilogy of Hobbit films by Peter Jackson opens this December. Author Corey Olsen, who produces a podcast called The Tolkien Professor, feels that The Hobbit has lived far too long in the shadow of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. His idea is to turn attention back to what he calls "this brilliant little book." Olsen is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland and the President and founder of the Mythgard Institute, a new online teaching center for the study of Tolkien and other works of imaginative literature.


May 24, 2012

Interview with Homer Hickam, Writer and Former NASA Aerospace Engineer

Our guest is author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam. Many people will know him for his autobiographical novel "Rocket Boys," the basis for the film “October Sky.” He has just published a novel for young adult readers. The book, "Crater," is the first in a projected trilogy that depicts the life of 22nd century miners living on the moon. It has been praised as a coming of age story, and for its vision of what life in a permanent moon settlement might be like.


January 18, 2012

Luminarium: A Novel

With Alex Shakar (Associate Professor/Program Director, Creative Writing Program, Engnlish Department, University of Illinois)


September 28, 2011

The King James Bible, 400 Years

With Valerie Hotchkiss, Ph.D. (Head of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library; Director of the Midwest Book & Manuscript Studies Program; Professor of Medieval Studies, Religion Studies, and Library Science, University of Illinois)


September 23, 2011

A Jane Austen Education

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

With William Deresiewicz, Ph.D. (Writer; Essayist; Book Critic; Contributing Writer for The Nation; Contributing Editor for The New Republic)


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