Getting to Know Professor O’Connor
1) When did you decide to go into your field of study? Why?
I have always loved to read and talk about books. That said, in college I was convinced I was going to be a journalist, and the English concentration of my double major was a bit of an afterthought. It was only after four years of working for a newspaper that I realized the news industry wasn’t for me and I decided to pursue my Ph. D in 20th Century British and Anglophone Literature.
2) What was the first book you read and loved?
Little Women by Lousia May Alcott. I was in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. Dierker, didn’t believe that I had actually read it and only changed her mind after I stood up and recounted the plot to the class. I was an extremely shy child and this was very difficult for me. I was entranced with Alcott and blazed through all her books for children. For years, I would reread Little Women every Christmas vacation.
3) What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is one that is spelled correctly and used appropriately. My least favorite word is “moist, ”for which there is no appropriate context regardless of the accuracy of its spelling.
4) Do you have any hobbies?
My chief non-academic activity at the moment is spending time with, i.e. chasing after, my three-year-old son. I also enjoy yoga, gardening, and hiking and am really looking forward to exploring the Eastern shore.
5) Who is your favorite author?
This is a very hard question and the answer changes frequently. As a Modernist, my fallback answers are usually Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, both of whom I adore but who at times puzzle and frustrate me. Whenever I re-read one of their books, I find something new to ponder over—another flash of insight that had previously escaped me. To me this is the hallmark of a great writer.