Taylor Shares Research in Europe

RGC Assistant Professor Audrey Taylor expands on a point at the Stockholm conference.-Courtesy photo

By Laura Nelson

Sul Ross State Univ. Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Audrey Taylor, spent part of her summer in Europe, sharing her research and writing with her colleagues in Bristol, England, and Stockholm, Sweden.

At the Diana Wynne Jones in 2019 conference in Bristol, Taylor presented a paper examining time as a healing factor across British author Jones' work. Jones, who died in 2011, wrote fantasy fiction for children and young adults. Taylor also chaired a discussion session about the late author's portrayal of families in her writing.

At the 24th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children's Literature in Stockholm, Taylor presented her work comparing two of author Anne McCaffrey's child characters. She used the conference's theme, "silence and silencing" to examine how the child characters either used silence or didn't use silence to achieve their ends. The late McCaffrey also wrote children's fantasy fiction and is well-known for her Dragonriders of Pern series.

Taylor also studies world-building, the development of an imaginary place which means much more than location. Authors world-build, creating a domain for their characters, but creators, readers, fans, and critics also world-build, just in different ways and for different reasons. Working with Dr. Stefan Ekman of the Univ. of Gothenburg in Sweden, the pair created the term "critical world-building" to define these distinctions. The pair have written a number of articles and also took part in a podcast about the subject. In addition, Taylor's first book, Patricia A. McKillip and the Art of Fantasy World-Building, used the concept as a framework. The podcast is available here: https://m.soundcloud.com/gotpop/gotpop-37-critical-world-building.

Dr. Taylor's research is tied directly to her coursework. She teaches young adult literature and other literature classes at the SRSU Rio Grande College as well as advanced composition. The conferences keep her up-to-date on the latest research, interests, and projects that her colleagues are engaged in. In addition, the critical world-building project has enhanced Taylor's teaching as it offers another close reading skill she can pass on to her students.

Contact Taylor at audrey.taylor@sulross.edu. For more information about RGC's programs, email rgcinfo@sulross.edu.