Dr. Debra Brenegan is an Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department. She is also the coordinator of the Women’s Studies minor and the faculty sponsor of Janus, the campus literary magazine.
Ph.D., English/Creative Writing (fiction) and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
M.A., English/Creative Writing (fiction), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
B.A., Journalism with distinction (Print Journalism and Broadcast Journalism), University of Wisconsin-Madison
Before pursuing her graduate degrees, Dr. Brenegan worked as a full-time and free-lance journalist/professional writer and as a community college instructor. She taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee while in graduate school and served as co-nonfiction editor, and assistant fiction and poetry editors for Cream City Review. She joined Westminster College in 2007.
Teaching and Research Interests
Creative Writing (fiction, poetry and nonfiction)
Twentieth-Century American Literature
Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Nineteenth-Century British Women Novelists
Narrative Craft and Theory
Women’s Studies and Feminist Theory
Women Writers (emphasis on prose)
Literary Magazine Editing
At Westminster College, Dr. Brenegan teaches creative writing, journalism, academic writing, Women’s Studies, and a variety of literature course from “Introduction to Literature” and “American Literature” to upper-level courses like “Women & Madness in Literature,” “Novels that Pushed the Envelope,” “American Short Stories,” and “Jane Austen and the Brontës.”
Dr. Brenegan has published hundreds of journalism articles and has given dozens of fiction readings and scholarly presentations. For her fiction, she has received a Ragdale residency, the Ellen Hunnicutt Fiction Award, and was a recent finalist for the John Gardner Memorial Fiction prize, The Cincinnati Review Schiff Prose Prize and the Crab Creek Review fiction prize. Her creative work has been published in Calyx, Tampa Review, The Laurel Review, RE:AL, The Cimarron Review, The Southern Women’s Review, Phoebe and other publications. Her novel, Shame the Devil (SUNY Press, 2011) was a finalist for Foreword Review’s 2011 Book of the Year Award in the Historical Fiction category. She has a second novel and a short story collection circulating among agents and publishers. She is currently working on a third novel, and a second short story collection.
During the school year, Dr. Brenegan lives in a 130-year-old house in Fulton with her husband, Steve, and their elderly cat. They spend summers and school breaks in their native Milwaukee. When not teaching, writing, spending time with family or driving back and forth to Wisconsin, Dr. Brenegan enjoys cooking, gardening, reading and traveling.