Loyola University Chicago

Department of English


Meet Loyola's new writing professor, Nami Mun (11/9/2022)

Meet Loyola

Newly appointed assistant professor Nami Mun joins our creative writing faculty from Northwestern University. What inspired her to make the move from Evanston to Rogers Park was the passion she saw in Loyola’s students during her campus interview, as well as the evident collegiality of the English Department faculty.

In her first few weeks of classes at Loyola, Professor Mun has seen excitement in her students and says they are engaged, talkative, intelligent, creative, and unafraid of taking risks with their writing. They also have a great sense of humor, which creates the kind of classroom environment that has allowed her to be an academically rigorous teacher, as well as instruct students to be open-minded and process-driven writers, like herself, when being introduced to the art of writing.

“I want students to experience the power of storytelling, as well as the power of reading closely, actively, and widely. The writer, in many ways, is a polymath of sorts—someone who is curious about philosophy, politics, history, interpersonal dynamics, culture, and so on. Our job is to fully encompass the worlds we are trying to relay to the reader,” she says. 

Professor Mun’s first goal in the literature classroom is to get her students excited about reading, which she does by initially introducing texts purely by themselves, without front-loading them with too many supplemental readings. She wants her students to have the space and the freedom to have their reactions to the text first. She says once they have a personal connection to the reading, she then brings into the conversation supplemental information to help them compare their reactions and framework to others’.   

In her recent writing workshop, Professor Mun asks students to submit a short story by the second week of class. “When you give beginning writers too much time, it can actually stunt the drafting process. By giving them a short amount of time to produce a rough first draft, I’m making it difficult for them to overthink the writing.” 

She adds that despite their initial shock, not one student has ever missed the deadline in all of her years of teaching. She calls this first draft “the vomit draft,” which eventually develops into the story they’ll be working on throughout the semester. 

“In addition to writing the workshop manuscript, we might write an obsessions list. We might talk about chronic conflict. We might talk about significant childhood moments. And eventually, either during class or office hours, we put them all together and figure out what might be at stake for the student to write this story,” she says. “My goal as a teacher is to have students find the story they need to tell. That's where good writing comes from, I think. From sheer necessity.”  

In her own writing, Professor Mun explores characters living in the margins. In her current novel, she shines a light on the systemic exploitation of girls and women within society and its connection to unchecked capitalism. These topics are not labeled as such. They are instead fictionalized and defamiliarized so readers can see them through a more apolitical lens. 

Her favorite book at the moment is Signs Preceding the End of the World by Mexican author Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman. She says she loves teaching it because the language is accessible, solid, and direct for a novice reader while complex, nuanced, and allegorical for the more observant.