Laura Suchoski

Laura Suchoski is a 2009 Duke graduate who now works for ESPN. While an undergrad, Laura was a four-time All-American on the varsity field hockey team, and she also played for the U.S. National Field Hockey Team. In this Q&A with, Laura talks about her field hockey career as well as her experience with Duke in New York, which she participated in during the summer before her senior year. In the interview, Laura says, “The marketing and advertising industry is so enjoyable because it lets you utilize your communication skills and creativity that you learned… particularly through all your years playing on sports teams.” Laura continues to utilize her love of sports in her career as well as in her life; according to her Twitter page, she enjoys “developing the skills and leadership in young athletes.”

While participating in Duke in New York, Laura interned at Ogilvy & Mather, an international marketing, advertising, and public relations agency. Upon graduation from Duke, Laura worked as an assistant account executive at the advertising agency McCann-Erickson. She is now a social media specialist for, which includes ESPN High School, a branch geared toward high school athletes and fans, and espnW, which serves the female athlete community.

As part of her job with ESPN, Laura has written a column for ESPNHS GIRL magazine as well as multiple articles mentoring teens about sports recruiting and social media. One such article, “Beware of the power of Facebook,” can be found here. You can check out Laura’s ESPN bio here.

ESPN offers many other opportunities in the media industry; its business entities include branches in fields such as television, radio, publishing, event management, and more. Check out this ESPN Media Zone fact sheet for more information about careers in the media industry.

It was great to hear from Laura in class on Wednesday!

(by Holly Hilliard)


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Anthony Kelley

Dr. Anthony Kelley leaves an unforgettable impression on those he befriends; his opinions and ideas full of vibrancy and depth, always sparking a new curiosity in oneself. I had the esteemed pleasure of being taught by Dr. Kelley for all of my freshman year in Music Theory and came away with so much more than composing basics and theoretical understandings. I learned a handful of lifetime lessons from a passionate composer, teacher, and musician.

Dr. Kelley received his B.A. and A.M. in music composition at Duke University in 1991 and his Ph. D. at UC Berkeley in 2001. During his career at Duke, Dr. Kelley received the Mary Duke Biddle Scholarship for Musical Composition and the Henry Schuman Prize for Musical Composition. After graduating from Duke, Kelley became the Composer-in-Residence with the Richmond Symphony for three years under the Meet-the-Composer grant. He later joined the Duke music faculty in 2000 and continues to teach music theory, music appreciation and composition. Kelley is also a performer and co-director of the BLAK Ensemble (a modern improvisational blues group) and continues composing, residing part-time on Duke’s East campus.

In 1998, the American Composers Orchestra premiered Dr. Kelley’s “The Breaks” and in 1999, during his residency with the Richmond Symphony, his piano concerto “Africamerica” premiered with soloist Donal Fox. The Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, North Carolina, Oakland East Bay, Marin (CA) and San Antonio symphony orchestras have all performed Kelley’s compositions. By 2008, Kelley was awarded for his works in the Full Frame and 28th Black Maria film festivals and the Aaron Copland Foundation Recording Project.

Kelley just received the 2011 Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award (ADUTA) and recently composed for a film called “Kudzu Vine” by Josh Gobson that’s worth checking out.

His compositions include: “Grist for the Mill” from The Alfalfa Club; soundtrack to both Conjuring Burden (2006) and The Doll (2007); music to Duke’s “Spring Awakening” stage production (2008); “Contra-Funkti, 1-6.” Check out this article “There’s No Time Like The Present: Young Composers on Composing Today and What It’ll Be Like Next Century” from the perspective of three young composers (Dr. Kelley included) and Kelley’s oral presentation on classical and jazz traditions.

-Natalie Robles

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Otto Penzler and The Mysterious Bookshop

The Mysterious Bookshop

Otto Penzler, a celebrated writer and editor, a mystery fan, is the proprietor of the oldest and the largest mystery specialist bookstore in the world—The Mysterious Bookshop. Founded in Midtown Manhattan in 1975, the bookstore’s current location, which we will be visiting tomorrow, is in Tribeca. The store is renowned for primarily dealing with out-of-print, secondhand, and other hard-to-find books. Penzler himself has particular love for rare books as he claims “they have a place in [his] heart.”

[The Mysterious Bookshop Website]

Otto Penzler

Born in 1942 and graduating University of Michigan with an English degree, Otto Penzler is an  award-winning publisher and author. He was awarded the Edgar Award twice in years 1977 and 2010 for co-writing Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection and editing The Lineup. He is the founder of The Mysterious Press, a mystery and crime fiction publishing house which he founded in 1975, sold to Warner Books in 1989, and just recently reacquired. He also founded the publishing firms Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library, and has imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Atlantic Books.

Few of his numerous publishing works include: The Best American Mystery Stories, The Best American Crime Writing, Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop, The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time, and The Best American Noir of the Century. He served on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America for fourteen years during which he was awarded the Ellery Queen Award and a Raven. Further, his original works include: Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, and 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery and Suspense. He was the columnist for the New York Sun where he wrote the popular weekly mystery column The Crime Scene as well. Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! is the latest short story collection edited by Otto Penzler on sale from September 20th. [Book Info]

Finally, check out the aritcle Penzler wrote about noir fiction for Huffington Post [Article] and the video clip on Otto Penzler and The Mysterious Bookshop. [Video]


“I realized that the best mystery writers were every bit as good as the best non-genre writer.” -Otto Penzler


Emily Lee


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Otto Penzler

(above) Mr. Otto Penzler in his private library (sadly, not the location we visited, although I wish we could have! Isn’t it awesome?)

Otto Penzler began his career as a University of Michigan alumnus. He worked as a copy boy at the Daily News in his 20’s, making $37/week. He has been collecting books since that time, and today owns roughly 58,000 first editions of mystery books, (many located in his private library, pictured above). Mr. Penzler owns one of the oldest and largest bookstores in Manhattan, The Mysterious Bookshop.

Of course, the interesting part is what comes in between those two points (not that 58,000 first editions aren’t interesting). Otto Penzler wrote “The Crime Scene” a weekly column for the New York Sun that he penned for 5 years. He published “The Armchair Detective” for 17 years, an Edgar-winning quarterly journal specializing in mystery and suspense fiction. He founded the Mysterious Press, which he sold at one point to Warner books and recently reacquired. Penzler created the entire publishing firms of Otto Penzler Books and the Armchair Detective Library and has imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in United States and Atlantic books in the United Kingdom.

Impressed yet?

Mr. Penzler has won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1977 for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, which he edited with Chris Steinbrunner. He was also awarded the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 by The Mystery Writers of America for his contributions in publishing. He was honored with its highest non-writing award, the Raven, in 2003, as well.

If you aren’t impressed, then you mustn’t be truly an English-major. (I would suggest letting your registrar know right away.)

Otto Penzler was featured in The New York Times last year for his amazing store, his collection, and the legacy that he continues to leave for generations to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Geri Thoma

“Books may well be the only true magic.”
-Alice Hoffman

Geri Thoma is a literary agent for the Elaine Markson Agency, located in Greenwich Village. Before pursuing a career in book publication, Thoma studied history at the University of Maryland and Columbia University. She claims that her passion for history began in the summer of the Watergate hearings, an event that she followed by the minute. She joined the Agency in 1980, as an assistant. She went on to become the foreign rights director and began to start her own list in 1983. In 2003, she became an official partner in the agency. Having a passion for history, she represents a list of famous American historians, who focus on a wide range of topics in American history. Apart from history books, she is also interested in biographies, memoirs, interesting sociological books, and narrative journalism. In 2007, she took on Ann Packer’s novel Songs Without Words. To read an article written in the New York Times regarding this project and subsequent novel, click here.
Elaine Markson founded the agency, Markson Thoma, in 1972, with the hopes of creating a small independent literacy agency that would foster a tight-knit group and detail oriented managing style. To this day, they have succeeded in doing just that, and as a result, are able to celebrate the amazing list of authors, novelists, historians, and journalists they represent. Markson Thoma proudly represents authors such as Barry Glassner, Kim Edwards, Alice Hoffman, and Billie Letts, who have all published national bestsellers. Their clients have received countless awards and honors, ranging from the Pulitzer Prize to the National Book Award and the Newbery Honor Book. To see a full list, click here.
We are so excited to hear more about Geri Thoma’s journey, hardships, successes and joys as a literary agent for Markson Thoma.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

George Andreou

George Andreou, Senior Editor and V.P. at Knopf

This past Wednesday, our class had the distinct pleasure of welcoming George Andreou to our guest speaker panel on the publishing business.

Mr. Andreou is currently serving as a Senior Editor and the Vice President of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., a subdivision of the Random House publishing group.  After earning his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his graduate degree in literature from Yale, Andreou started as an editorial assistant at Knopf.  Since then, he has climbed all the way to the top, working for the same publishing house for over 20 years.  As he noted in class, that’s the way the publishing business works: even the greats have to start somewhere!

During this time, Andreou has been the editor of some truly outstanding books.  He edited My Name is Red by the great Orhan Pamuk, which directly contributed to Pamuk becoming the bestselling Turkish author of all time and winning the Nobel Prize.  You undoubtedly remember the name James Watson from your high school biology textbook (he and his cohort, Crick, discovered DNA), and Andreou edited Watson’s DNA: The Secret of Life.  In fact, his work on this history of genetics was so significant that Watson states in his author’s note, “George Andreou, our preternaturally patient editor at Knopf, wrote much more of this book—the good bits—than either of us would ever let on.”  The list of literary giants Andreou has guided goes on and on, including V.S. Naipaul, John Keegan, and Adam Gopnik.  More recently, he was named the editor of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s upcoming memoir, which millions of readers are awaiting anxiously.  Remember, these are all authors that bear Andreou’s personal mark as editor, but as V.P. of Knopf, he helps oversee publishing for scores of household names like Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, and Margaret Atwood.

If you want to hear Andreou’s brilliant intellect and personal connection to his authors in action (a trait further exhibited in a Harvard Crimson piece on author Louis Begley), here’s a video of him moderating a V.S. Naipaul reading.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Guest Speaker Introduction: Eric Zinner

Having completed his MA in Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon, Eric Zinner began at the bottom of the publishing world. He started with an internship at Jewish magazine Tikkun and climbed up the ladder to his current position at NYU Press, where he has been Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief since the year 2000, following three years as an Editor.

Zinner is experienced in both university and trade publishing. Prior to working for NYU Press, Zinner held an Acquisitions Editor position at Routledge, the British publishing house known primarily for its scholarly work. Zinner highlights the differences between the two approaches to scholarly publishing, university and trade, in this interview with the Minnesota Review.  He notes in particular the discipline specialisation of university publishing, as opposed to trade publishing where “you rarely find a trade editor who wouldn’t acquire any interesting book that struck their fancy.”

When Zinner first joined NYU Press it had not focused its discipline specialisation like competing university publishing houses. Fortunately, Zinner managed to attract previous clients from Routledge, which was suffering internal difficulties at the time, and helped establish a strong list of publications in Cultural Studies and Media Studies.  These two fields have since become intrinsically associated with NYU Press, even more so following Zinner’s instatement as Editor-in-Chief.

Whilst at NYU Press, Zinner has faced a rapidly changing academic publishing landscape. As the popularity and scholarship in the humanities waned among students, shifting to economics and the natural sciences, Zinner has managed to keep his publishing house active, particularly through encouraging interdisciplinarity. Similarly, Zinner has faced challenges with the rapid development of technology as scholarly work is reaching its audience through countless new media. This has lead to a steep decline in revenue from traditional sources (especially hard-back print). However, despite these hurdles, Zinner’s publications have been frequently receiving awards, including National Jewish Book Awards, Katherine Singer Kovács Book Awards (Cinema & Media Studies) and the Alan Merriam Prize (Ethnomusicology), all of which are coveted achievements in their respective fields.

– Nicholas Gubbins

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized