Louise Spiegler


Louise Spiegler

B.A. International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
M.A. Creative Writing and English Literature, Temple University

Office: UW1-391 and other locations
Email: spiegl@uw.edu
Mailing Box: 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I teach a wide range of literature, history and writing courses, which are often global in scope. My teaching is concerned with the power of storytelling, and examines narratives of history, of power, of love, of war and of the struggle for social justice. Who tells these stories and how are they crafted? How does the way a story is told shape our understanding of the world around us? How does it reflect ideologies and structures of power? In my classes, we examine how narratives are embedded in complex historical conditions. I am as interested in Shakespeare’s plays as I am in anonymous folktales, and as compelled by stories of leaders and change agents whose names are familiar as those whose names history has never recorded. I see stories —those we read and listen to, as well as those we tell ourselves — as a powerful way of becoming. I believe that storytelling provides a unique possibility of creating community and deepening our understanding of ourselves and others.

My approach to this material is always interdisciplinary. For example, my Shakespeare classes are structured with roots in world history, a solid trunk of literary analysis, and branches shooting out into stage and film performance. Human life doesn’t come in neat compartments and neither does human learning. Whether it’s diving into research, re-writing ancient dramas, discussing complex passages of literature, engaging in oral story-telling or performance, I believe students learn through action and engagement. My hope is to create a “gracious space” in which all of us can question, learn from each other, have our ideas challenged, and feel excited about discovery.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 207 Shakespeare and Film
BCORE 117 The Time Traveling Bard: Shakespeare
BCORE 118 Red Riding Hood on the Rapid Ride: Fairy Tales, Folktales and Fantastical Literature
BCORE 120 Mapping the Middle Ages
BCUSP 187 Introduction to Literary Analysis
BWRIT 135 Research Writing
BWRIT 134 Composition

Research and Scholarship

I am the author of two novels for young adults and a number of short stories.

My first novel, The Amethyst Road focuses on issues of racism and power. It is speculative fiction set in alternative Pacific Northwest, and was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award (Hugo-Nebula Award Scheme), a New York Public Library Book for the Teenage and a School Library Journal selection. It was also translated into German as Purpurfeuer and published by Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag.

The Jewel and the Key, my second novel, was published by Clarion in 2011. It is a time travel narrative set in Seattle at the beginning of the Iraq War and 1917, as the U.S. entered World War One and the Alien and Sedition Acts were used to stifle political and labor dissent.

In 2010 I was selected as Jack Straw writer, which involved developing new work for their anthology, recording and presenting readings throughout the Seattle area.

My writing usually has a strong historical foundation. For my first novel, I examined the history and culture of the Rom. The research for my second novel focused on World War I, free speech and dissent, especially as connected to the International Workers of the World (IWW). Seattle’s theater history figured just as prominently. Research for the story I am currently working on centers on women’s lives in ancient Rome and Roman medical theory and practice.

Selected Publications

  • The Amethyst Road Clarion 2005
  • The Jewel and the Key Clarion 2011
  • Excerpts from The Lares published in the Jack Straw Anthology 2011
  • “Orkney” published in Yours Truly 2016