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English Alum Gets Revenge

Darrin Doyle recently published his debut novel and is set to release another next spring.

Date: 7/20/2009
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Provided by Darrin Doyle
It was the fall of 2002 when Darrin Doyle started penning his first novel, "Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet." It was also his first quarter as a PhD student at University of Cincinnati, studying comparative literature in the Department of English.

Darrin Doyle.
Doyle, a 2006 graduate, recently published 'Revenge of the Teacher's Pet.'

The experiences went hand in hand, Doyle says. While the first draft only took a few months, he turned to professors Brock Clarke and Michael Griffith for help with edits and career advice.

“The support from the faculty was tremendous and it was a great community to be in,” he says.

The help paid off. The novel was released by LSU Press in April of this year, receiving several reviews, including the New York Times Sunday Book Review, which described the novel as “an original tale that earns its readers’ trust, and breaks their hearts a little in the process.”

The novel is about two lonely schoolteachers who find love—with a few twists along the way, including a suicide attempt, murder and jail time.

“The story was originally about the courtship of these quirky, odd characters and I liked the characters so much that I alternated points of view,” Doyle says. “I didn’t initially know where I was going with the plot; I was just entertaining myself.”

It was liberation from his last project, a novella featuring the retelling and modernization of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Revenge of the Teacher
Doyle worked on the novel during his time as an English PhD student.

He considers himself a stylistic writer, he says, but loves the simplicity of precise language, ŕ la Franz Kafka. That was why he challenged himself to write a story where something impossible happens, written in such a way that it’s considered real. "The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo," literally about a girl who eats an entire city, will be published by St. Martin’s Press next spring.

Both novels, coincidentally, take place in Michigan. Doyle says Michigan is the usual stomping ground in his stories, mostly because he grew up there.

“I tend to write about places after I leave them,” he says.

Cincinnati is no exception. He is currently writing a third novel, tentatively called "Bad Luck Buttercup," about a woman who works at UC.

He can add a few more to his list. After earning his degree in 2006, he went on to teach at a variety of schools, including Miami University, University of Louisville, Kansas State University, and back home to Central Michigan University, where he teaches now as an assistant professor.

But he stays in contact with Clarke and Griffith, a sign of how rewarding his time with UC’s English department was. In fact, he’s coming back to campus in October for a book reading of "Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet."

“It’s hard to quantify all I took away from UC, but I know it gave me a lot of confidence, a lot of new knowledge and practical experience that I could take onto the job market. Not including the excellent feedback I received on my writing from Brock Clarke and Michael Griffith,” he says. “It was really a positive experience.”

Read more about the English department:

Passion for Poetry: Student Finds Voice Through Spoken Word

English Professor Awarded Interdisciplinary Ethics Grant

English ‘Family’ Celebrates a Successful Year

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