Heinz Insu Fenkl

Heinz Insu Fenkl

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Academic work

Fenkl is an associate professor of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and Asian Studies
Asian studies
Asian studies, a term used usually in the United States for Oriental studies and is concerned with the Asian peoples, their cultures, languages, history and politics...

 at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as coordinator of the school's Creative Writing Program and was director of the now-defunct ISIS: The Interstitial Studies Institute (also at New Paltz).

Before his appointment to his current position at SUNY, he taught a wide array of creative writing, folklore, and Asian literature courses at Vassar College
Vassar College
Vassar College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, in the United States. The Vassar campus comprises over and more than 100 buildings, including four National Historic Landmarks, ranging in style from Collegiate Gothic to International,...

, Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

, Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University is a comprehensive, co-educational public university located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ypsilanti is west of Detroit and eight miles east of Ann Arbor. The university was founded in 1849 as Michigan State Normal School...

, Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College is a private liberal arts college in the United States, and a leader in progressive education since its founding in 1926. Located just 30 minutes north of Midtown Manhattan in southern Westchester County, New York, in the city of Yonkers, this coeducational college offers...

, and Yonsei University
Yonsei University
Yonsei University is a Christian private research university, located in Seoul, South Korea. Established in 1885, it is one of the oldest universities in South Korea, the top private comprehensive universities in South Korea, and is widely regarded as one of the top three comprehensive...

 (Korea). At New Paltz, Fenkl regularly teaches creative writing in addition to courses on Asian literature & film and folklore.


His fiction includes Memories of My Ghost Brother, an autobiographical, Interstitial novel about growing up in Korea as a bi-racial child in the 1960s. On the strength of this book he was named a Barnes and Noble "Great New Writer" and PEN/Hemingway Award finalist in 1997. His second novel, Shadows Bend (a collaborative work, published under a pseudonym) was an innovative, dark 'road novel' about H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....

, Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard
Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. Best known for his character Conan the Barbarian, he is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre....

, and Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne...

. He has also published short fiction in a variety of journals and magazines, as well as numerous articles on folklore and myth.

He has published translations of Korean fiction and folklore, and is co-editor of Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Literature. Currently he is at work on a sequel to Memories of My Ghost Brother, and on a volume of Korean myths, legends, and folk tales: Old, Old Days When Tigers Smoked Tobacco Pipes. He also writes regular columns on mythic topics for Realms of Fantasy magazine and the Endicott Studio
Endicott Studio
Endicott Studio is a nonprofit organization, based in the United States and United Kingdom, that is dedicated to literary, visual, and performance arts inspired by myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the oral storytelling tradition. It was founded in 1987 by Terri Windling, and is co-directed by...

 Journal of Mythic Arts.


After graduating from Vassar College, he studied folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 and shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 as a Fulbright Scholar
Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the...

 in Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and dream research under a grant from the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

. Fenkl holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of California, Davis
University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis is a public teaching and research university established in 1905 and located in Davis, California, USA. Spanning over , the campus is the largest within the University of California system and third largest by enrollment...

, where he was also a Ph.D candidate in cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...


Fenkl was raised in Korea and (in his later years) Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the United States. He lives in the Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State, United States, from northern Westchester County northward to the cities of Albany and Troy.-History:...

with his wife, writer and artist Anne B. Dalton, and their daughter Isabella Myong-wol.

External links