Three Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) instructors at the Loudoun Campus are pursuing their professional passions with abundant success.
Come spring 2014, English Professor Nathan Leslie will have his latest short story collection “Sibs” published. The stories focus on the relationships between siblings.
Leslie has taught at NOVA for 11 years. He is the author of six short story collections, a collection of poetry and one novel. His first novel, “The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice”, was published by Atticus Books in 2012. His works have been published in hundreds of literary magazines and two works received Pushcart Prize nominations.
He was series editor for “The Best of the Web Anthology” (2008 and 2009, Dzanc Books). He is currently the fiction editor for “Newport Review.”
Josh Pachter, an instructor of communication studies, recently finished translating a novel and a handful of short stories from Dutch into English. The mystery novel, “Dead Air” by Belgian author Toni Coppers is currently being marketed to publishers, while the short mystery stories were sold to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
Pachter, who is fluent in Dutch, is in his fourth year of teaching at NOVA. He has been translating works since the mid-1980s and said while it took a few days to translate each short story, it took about six weeks for him to translate the novel.
Pachter only takes on projects for living authors so he can address creative issues that arise from translations.
“Idiomatic expressions are often translated badly, so I like speaking with the author. Some things culturally make sense in one country but not in another,” Pachter said. Sometimes he suggests changes to titles and slight adjustments to storylines to appeal to an American audience.
“My goal is for no one to know it’s a translation,” Pachter said.
Pachter holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and has taught at multiple colleges since 1978. In 1986, he won an award for translation from the Mystery Writers of America and has published more than 70 short stories during his career. In 2011 he published the Kindle book, “First Week Free at the Roomy Toilet.”
Writing for the stage
As a World War I period drama, Lisa Nanni-Messegee’s new play intertwines author Rudyard Kipling’s well-known classic “The Jungle Book” with actual letters that Kipling wrote to his children.
Inspired by “O Beloved Kids: Rudyard Kipling’s Letters to his Children,” Nanni-Messegee, assistant professor of theater, created her play, “Just So, Mr. Kipling.”
“I kind of lost time writing this play, I was so connected to the central character … it was an incredible experience for me,” Nanni-Messegee said of her research and writing.
In addition to having her play published, Nanni-Messegee is also looking forward to having her short story, “The Perfect Red” published in the anthology of D.C. women writers “Defying Gravity: An Anthology,” slated for release this November. In 2012, she and her husband helped write the Hallmark Channel movie, “Matchmaker Santa.”
She earned her master’s degree in acting from Kansas State University and holds a Master of Fine Arts in directing for theater from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.