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Professor heads to Scottish castle for prestigious writing fellowship

November 12, 2014

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This April, you’ll be able to find Associate Professor of English Pauls Toutonghi at a particularly beautiful and exotic location—a castle in Scotland.

As the recipient of a prestigious fellowship at the International Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle, Toutonghi will spend four weeks in residency working on his next book, The Lost Ocean.

The Lost Ocean follows 70 years in the life of a single Latvian family displaced by World War II and subsequently scattered around the globe. As an author, Toutonghi is at home exploring the interplay of cultures and their impact on character. Born in Seattle to an Egyptian father and a Latvian mother, he grew up hearing a cacophony of languages and ideas at the dining room table. He brings this rich multicultural perspective to his writing, including previous novels Evel Knievel Days and Red Weather.

“[Writing is] just what I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s immensely satisfying to me,” Toutonghi told the Oregonian. “It’s a way of ordering the world. The world is so overwhelming, and to be able to describe anything in it and communicate that description to another person is the only thing that’s really interesting to me.”

The Castle Writers Retreat was founded in 1982 to provide a peaceful setting where creative, published writers can work without disturbance. As a result of the competitive selection process, just five writers, known as Hawthornden fellows, are in residence at one time.

English Department Honors and Achievements

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