K. A. Laity is the author of the novels White Rabbit, Knight of the White Hart, A Cut-Throat Business, Lush Situation, Owl Stretching, Pelzmantel, The Mangrove Legacy, Chastity Flame and the collections Unquiet Dreams and Dream Book, as well as editor of My Wandering Uterus, How to Be Dull, Respectable Horror, Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and Drag Noir, writer of other stories, plays and essays. Her stories slip across genres and categories, but all display intelligence and humour. Myths and fairy tales influence much of her writing. The short stories in Dreambook [originally Unikirja] found their inspiration from The Kalevala, Kanteletar, and other Finnish myths and legends: the stories won the 2005 Eureka Short Story Fellowship and a 2006 Finlandia Foundation grant. She also writes historical fiction as Kit Marlowe, crime as Graham Wynd and humour as Basil Morley. Her bibliography includes short stories, humour, plays and essays, both scholarly and popular.
A tenured professor, Dr. Laity teaches medieval literature, film, gender studies, digital humanities and popular culture; she is also the director of the Digital Humanities Initiative. As a 2011-2012 Fulbright Fellow in Galway, Ireland she worked in digital humanities at NUIG. She divides her time between Hudson, New York and Dundee, Scotland.
Laity grew up in Michigan, where you are never more than six miles from a lake or river. Her hometown is Lansing, but she spent a lot of time at the family cabin in Kaleva, as well in the glorious forests, rivers and lakes of the various state parks. She’s lived in many places and loves to travel, spending a lot of time in the British Isles, especially in Dundee with her partner, Mark.
A stick insect at the Butterfly World Project was named in her honour (and you can’t top that!). Be sure to visit Amin Art for a wide range of gorgeous pictures by this fabulous photographer.
Dr. Laity has an AB from James Madison College at Michigan State University, an AM in International Relations from the University of Southern California as well as an MA and PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut.
You will find it a lot easier to get along with her if you love Peter Cook, Alice in Wonderland, Mark E. Smith and The Fall, or Beowulf, but if all else fails, buy her a pint of plain.
The fabulous ‘Cult of Kaity’ design is by S. L. Johnson. The photo of Laity with the official cult sticker appeared in Johnson’s first gallery show along with other happy folk holding her designs. The two frequently collaborate under the umbrella of The Women’s League of Ale Drinkers and Flint & Steel.
HONORS AND AWARDS
- 2017 College of Saint Rose Professional Development Grant
- 2014 College of Saint Rose Professional Development Grant
- 2011-2 Fulbright Fellowship: NUI Galway
- 2011 Femspec Fiction Award for “Eating the Dream”
- 2010 College of Saint Rose Reassigned Time Grant
- 2009 College of Saint Rose Professional Development Grant & Reassigned Time Grant
- 2007 Saint Rose Scholars & Artists Grant
- 2006 Finlandia Foundation Grant
- 2005 Eureka Short Story Fellowship
- 2005 University of Houston Downtown Faculty Scholarship/Creativity Award
- 2003 Nominee, International Reading Association Children’s Book Award
- 2003 Nominee, Aesop Prize of the Children’s Section of the American Folklore Society
- 1993-2002 University of Connecticut, Medieval Studies Graduate Student Fellowship
- 1995 Winner, Clive Barker Lord of Illusions Short Story Contest for “Revelation”
2010-present Associate Professor of English, The College of Saint Rose
2009-2011 Coordinator, Women’s Studies Program, The College of Saint Rose
2006-2010 Assistant Professor of English, The College of Saint Rose
2003-2006 Assistant Professor of English, University of Houston-Downtown
2002-2003 Instructor, University of Houston-Downtown
2001-2002 Instructor, Manchester Community College
1993-2002 Instructor/Graduate Assistant, University of Connecticut
Ph.D. 2003, University of Connecticut — Medieval Studies
Dissertation: Local Heroes: The Sociocultural Context for the Development of Vernacular Saints’ Lives in Old Irish, Old Norse and Old English. Committee: Frederick M. Biggs (director), Robert J. Hasenfratz, Thomas N. Hall (University of Illinois-Chicago)
M.A. 1995 University of Connecticut — Medieval Studies
A.M. 1985 University of Southern California — International Relations
A.B. 1983 Michigan State University — James Madison College
RESEARCH AND TEACHING INTERESTS
Old and Middle English Language, Literature and Culture; Older Scots Literature, Language and Culture; Old Norse Language, Literature and Culture; Comparative Mythology; Magic in History; Folklore; Witchcraft; Women Writers; Feminist and Gender Studies; Popular Culture; Cultural Studies; Creative Writing; Film; Comics; Visual Information and Media Literacy; Social Media; Digital Humanities
Old English, Older Scots, Middle English, Old Icelandic, Modern Swedish, Gothic, Old High German, Middle High German, Modern German, Swedish, Old Irish, Latin
Director, Digital Humanities Initiative, CSR 2015-present.
Member, Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (all Associations). 2015-present.
Member, Popular Culture Association: 1995-present, National Area Chair, Medieval Popular Culture Area, Popular Culture Association, 2002-2011.
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Femspec, 2007-present
Member, Editorial Board, International Journal of Comic Art, 1998-present.
Coordinator, Women’s & Gender Studies, CSR Summer 2009-2011
Member, Women’s & Gender Studies Steering Committee, CSR 2006-present.
Co-sponsor, Sigma Tau Delta, CSR 2008-present.
Member, English Department Graduate Committee, CSR 2006-present
Member, English Department Events Committee, CSR 2006-2008.
Producer/Presenter, Prose at the Rose (radio program), CSR 2007-2011.
Assessment Working Group for the Middle States Periodic Review Reports, CSR 2008-2009
Security Advisory Committee, CSR 2008-2014
PhD Dissertation examiner, Sean Christopher McMullen, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, 2008.
PhD Dissertation committee member, Laurel Lacroix, English Department, University of Houston, 2006.
Faculty Advisor, Bayou Review Literary Magazine, UHD, 2003-2006.
Coordinator, Women’s Month, UHD, 2002-2006.
Member, General Education University Committee, UHD, 2003-2006.
Ex Officio Member, Student Publications Committee, 2003-2006.
Member, Scholarships for Future Students University Committee, UHD, 2003-2006.
Member, Art Acquisition University Committee, UHD, 2003-2006.
Member, English Curriculum Committee, UHD, 2003-2006.
Member, Composition/1302 Committee, UHD, 2002-2006.
Member, Post-Colonial & Modern British Literature Search Committees, UHD, 2002-2003.
Freshman English Orientation Committee, UConn, Summer 2001.
Workshop Leader for the Freshman English Storrs Workshop, UConn, April 2001.
Workshop Leader for the Freshman English Stamford Workshop, UConn, March 2001.
Workshop: “Putting Course Materials for Teaching on the Internet.” UConn, Spring 2000; Fall 2000.
Assistant, London Study Abroad Program, UConn, Fall 1999.
Web Manager, Medieval Studies Program, UConn, 1995-1999.
Co-Coordinator, 15th Annual Medieval Studies Graduate Student Conference, UConn, April 1997.
Mentor for New Instructors, Freshman English, UConn, 1996-2001.
Editor, Medieval Studies Newsletter, UConn, 1994-1995.
Research Assistant for Professor C. David Benson, Spring 1994.
OTHER ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE
Co-ordinator, Faculty Affairs, Harvard Medical School, 1990-1993.
Assistant, Registrar’s Office, Harvard School of Public Health, 1988-1990.
Graduate Affairs Advisor, Chemistry Department, University of Southern California, 1985-1988.