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Short stories, Fulbright and a biography? That’s Professor Axelrod’s kind of year

Professor Axelrod publishes two new books and receives third Fulbright

Quirky short stories from his Ph.D. days. His first-ever biography. A Fulbright award. Those accomplishments certainly hail from different arenas. But that’s the kind of year it’s been for Mark Axelrod, Ph.D., professor in the Department of English where he teaches creative writing.

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Mark Axelrod, Ph.D., wrote his first biography and landed his third Fulbright.

The biography,
Big Thoughts Are Free: Biography of Milan Panic
(Peter Lang), was released in late spring. The Hon. Milan Panic, a member of President Jim Doti’s Cabinet, is the former prime minister of Yugoslavia, a legendary entrepreneur and founder and owner of MP Global Enterprises and Associates LLC, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“I’ve never seen anybody with that much energy,” Axelrod says.

This year also saw the publication of Axelrod’s collection of experimental short stories,
Dante’s Foil & Other Sporting Tales
(Black Scat Books). The stories range from “Baudelaire-Bird Connection or, How the Boston Celtics Got to Be That Way” to “The Edinburgh Mashie, or An 18-Hole Explication of the Poetics of Golf.” One story in the collection even tosses around the idea that baseball inventor Abner Doubleday was inspired by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol. That one also earned a best story award from
The Iowa Review

Literary mischief was not the only point in assembling the stories, says Axelrod, a former high school basketball player and college track athlete.

“There were a lot of stylistic things I was doing, in terms of how these stories are told,” he says. “And there are stories about writers I’ve just always admired.”

And in the coming academic year Axelrod will depart for the University of Copenhagen where he will teach screenwriting. This will be his third Fulbright.

“It’s amazing how interest in screenwriting has just exploded over the past couple years,” he says.

Screenwriting competitions have grown, too. As well Axelrod knows. He’s won several of those in the last few years, too.

Dawn Bonker

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