Member of the Month- Evelyn Arizpe

Professor of Children's literature and literacies.

Evelyn Arizpe (PhD Education, 1990)

evelyn picture
  1. How did you come to study at Wolfson College?

Living in Mexico in pre-internet days meant I had very little information about colleges. I came to Wolfson not only because I wanted to be with students who were about my age but also because I saw from the brochure that Wolfson was a modern college and therefore I thought it was more likely to have a good heating system as well as showers!

  1. What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?

I did a PhD at the Faculty of Education, on young adult literature and reluctant readers. After that I did a bit of teaching for the Faculty and on several research projects, one of which resulted in a book co-authored with Morag Styles, Children Reading Pictures, which set me on the path of most of the research projects that followed. In 2004 I moved with my husband and children to Scotland and after a few years I was offered a part-time post as a lecturer in children’s literature in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. Eventually I began working full time there and last year was appointed Professor of Children’s Literature (the first in Scotland).

  1. What do you most enjoy about your job?

I was very lucky to end up with a job which involves what I always wanted to do: study and teach children’s literature. I have the best excuse to read children’s and YA books, even now that my daughters have grown up. I can introduce students to the benefits of enjoying and working with these books in the classroom and at the moment I am involved in research projects using picture books with migrant children in different countries. I also lead an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Programme, “Children’s literature, media and culture” with five other universities; for us to be able to offer scholarships to young people from all over the world to come to this programme is a dream come true.

  1. How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?

Although my life in Wolfson revolved more around social than the academic activities, it was a very supportive environment. I made good friends there from many different countries. It was also a peaceful place, with lovely gardens for sitting and reading or chatting. Activities such as the film club and salsa dancing were a welcome relief from studying.

  1. What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?

Although it may sound strange, my fondest memory was when I got chicken pox (probably from doing fieldwork in schools) and as an adult I got it badly. I only told my close friends (rather than the College tutors, which of course was very irresponsible on my part). Because I had a high fever, could hardly open my eyes and definitely not leave my room, my friends (including my now husband) would bring me food and lend me cassette tapes!

  1. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

It’s more of a proverb: “Lo bailado nadie te lo quita” (what you have danced, no one can take away); in other words, carpe diem

  1. Which book has had the greatest impact on you?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I was so overwhelmed and intrigued by it that I chose Latin American literature as my undergraduate degree.



What's on

Judas Tree

Cambridge Festival: Tree Trail

17/03/2023 at 10.00

A self-guided Tree Trail around the beautiful and varied garden 'rooms' of the grounds of Wolfson College.

Wolfson Gardens

Cambridge Festival: Garden Tour

23/03/2023 at 14.00

Take some time out of your day to engage your senses with the sights and sounds of Wolfson's plants and wildlife.

Graduands and Wolfson Flag

March 2023 Graduation Dinner

24/03/2023 at 18.30

We are excited to welcome our graduands for dinner in College!

Wolfson graduands

Graduation Ceremony

25/03/2023 at 09.00

Graduation ceremonies are the culmination of students’ hard work and commitment, and a moment to celebrate the completion of their Cambridge degree.

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Art Exhibition: 'Signs for the Living'

25/03/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Signs for the Living' featuring work by Hannah Lister, winner of this year's Wolfson Royal Academy Schools Graduate prize.