Keeping the Catholic Literary Tradition Alive: UIW Welcomes Author Katy Carl in Honor of Women’s History Month

March 22, 2024

Katy CarlIn celebration of Women’s History Month, the UIW Department of English and Women’s and Gender Studies invited writer Katy Carl to a Zoom discussion where she shared her literary works with students and other attendees.

Katy Carl is an award-winning, contemporary author and editor who is a vital voice in a new Renaissance of Catholic literature. Not only is she a well-known novelist and short story writer, but she is also editor of the Catholic literary magazine, Dappled Things.

“Carl is an ideal Women's History Month speaker because she helps students contemplate connections between Catholic women's writing of the past with where it is now and where it can go in the future,” explained Dr. LuElla D’Amico, associate professor of English. “When we think of possibilities for our students, especially for our English majors, of where they can position themselves as readers, writers, and thinkers, Katy Carl provides a specific avenue for them to turn toward. Her writing is in conversation with famous past Catholic writers like Flannery O'Connor, while still looking forward to a fresh, vibrant future of where the Catholic artistic tradition can go.”

D'Amico has been teaching Carl’s collection of stories, Fragile Objects, in her class called Sinners, Saints and Mystics to expose them to the experience of Catholic women who share a similar foundation with the University’s founding three Sisters.

“Often, this story can feel as if it was a long time ago. Writers like Carl remind us that Catholic women still hold fast to foundational principles of human dignity and looking out for the most vulnerable of those among us,” noted D’Amico.

For the entire virtual discussion, students asked Carl questions related to topics and questions that her writing explores. D’Amico hoped that Carl’s visit would demonstrate that the Catholic literary tradition is still alive, teach students how women’s history is currently being made and inspire students to contribute to that history in positive ways.

“A true conversation ensued that felt natural between Carl, students and attendees. Seeing that was definitely my favorite part. It felt as if there was a connection that went beyond speaker talking, to collaboration of thoughts happening,” recalled D’Amico.

As the celebration of Women’s History Month continues forward, the voices and actions of Catholic women continue to make a positive impact and shape history.