CSULA Department of English | Department Alumni Highlights

Christopher Isherwood's novel, A Single Man, was recently adapted into an award-winning film. The novel tells the story of a day in the life of George Falconer, a middle-aged professor at a state university in Los Angeles. Isherwood, a prominent British novelist who came to settle in Southern California after World War II, was certainly familiar with Falconer's world. For several years in the 1950s and early 1960s, Isherwood taught courses in modern English literature at Los Angeles State College, soon to be renamed the California State University at Los Angeles.

Poet Michael Harper and others discuss Isherwood's Los Angeles years (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Bachardy Image of Christopher Isherwood

Christopher Isherwood

(drawing by Don Bachardy)

Bachardy Image of Christopher Isherwood

Recent graduate Cory O'Brien turned his irreverent online retellings of ancient and classical myths into a well-received Penguin paperback. Readers of his Myths Retold website and now his book particularly enjoy the in-your-face humor but also the touches of humanity in these modern "translations."

Cory O'Brien's Myths Retold website


The first recipent of CSULA's Outstanding Alumnus Award, novelist Joseph Wambaugh was lauded for combining the realism of the police procedural with the harrowing psychology of modern fiction. Besides working in both fiction and non-fiction, Wambaugh also helped develop the influential mid-70s crime drama Police Story, which became the forerunner of countless television crime shows. Always prolific, Wambaugh recently published Harbor Nocturne, the fifth novel in his Hollywood Station series. For CSULA's 40th anniversary, Wambaugh commented on his time at CSULA: "I don't know that I would have ever been bewitched by the magic of literature had I been left to my own devices, that is, without the absolutely wondrous atmosphere I found at CSLA. No matter how tired I was from chasing crooks all day or night, I was instantly rejuvenated the moment I walked into a classroom, particularly a seminar in the Master's program. If I'd never had a word published, I wouldn't have traded my formal education for anything. It was nothing less than magical."


Bachardy Image of Christopher Isherwood

Joseph Wambaugh

(from josephwambaugh.net)



YouTube Icon Wambaugh on Writing
(Open Road Media Video)