• Faculty

  • Margaret Boe Birns

    Part-time Associate Teaching Professor


    Office Location
    A - 66 West 12th Street

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    Margaret Boe Birns


    In addition to her teaching at The New School, Margaret Boe Birns is also Adjunct Assistant Professor, SPS, NYU, where she received an award for Excellence in Teaching. She was also named Finalist for Distinguished University Teaching Award, The New School, 2011.  

    She has given talks or papers at The Harmonie Club, NYUSPS Great Lecture Series, Brotherhood Synagogue, Mint Theater post-performance discussion, Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on World War II, The American Names Society, The Shakespeare Club, and ING Corporation Learning at Lunch Lectures.

    She has published articles on authors including Anthony Powell, Roberto Bolaño, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen, Susan Sontag, William James, and Henrik Ibsen and has published poetry in the Journal of Popular Film and Television, Rolling Stone, Art Times, and Women Poems #3.

    Her areas of teaching expertise include: English, American, and European Literature of the 20th-21st Century; The Mystery Novel; Contemporary English and American Literature; Contemporary World Literature; The Short Story; and The Nineteenth Century Novel (English, American, European), Eco-fiction.

    Degrees Held

    Depauw University

    Bristol University, UK

    Columbia University

    Professional Affiliation

    Phi Beta Kappa

    Recent Publications

      "Anthony Powell's Secret Harmonies, Music in a Jungian Key, " re-published in Secret Harmonies, Journal of the Anthony Powell society, May 2018

    “Detective Fiction and the Prose of Everyday Life: Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh,and Gladys Mitchell in the 1950s”, Nicholas Birns and Margaret Boe Birns, British fiction of the 1950s,  edited by Dr. Alice Ferrebe,  Bloomsbury Press,  2018.

     "666 Twinned and Told Twice: Roberto's Bolaño 's Double Time Frame in 2666" in collection of essays on Robert Bolano, edited by Ignazio López-Calvo, University of California-Merced, forthcoming 2014

    Magill's Literary Annual—2005-2013

    Articles on: Tea Obreht, "The Tiger's Wife"; Bharati Mukherjee, "Miss New India"; Chris Adrian, "The  Great Night"; Tom Perrotta, "The Leftovers"; Justin Cartwright, 'The Pursuit of Happiness"; Phillip Henscher, " Northern Clemency'"; Nancy Huston, "Fault Lines"; Kazuo Ishiguro, "When We Were Orphans"; Jane Gardam, "Old Filth"; Allegra Goodman, "Intuition"; Ian McEwan, "On Chesil Beach''; Richard Price, "Lush Life"; Gary Schteyngart, "Super Sad True Love Story"; Chang-Rae Lee,  "The Surrendered"; Miguel Syjuco, "Illustrado"; Dan Chaon, "Await Your Reply"; Dai Sijie, "Once on a Moonless Night"; Marilynne Robinson, "Home "; Rawi Hage, "DeNiro's Game"; Zoe Heller, "The Believers"; Hitomi Kanehara,"Snakes and Earrings"

    Great Lives from History Series: "Khaled Hosseini"; “Ray Barretto”; "Teresa Urrea"; "Susan Sontag”; "Carly Simon”; "Mark Helprin"

    A Critical Companion to Henry James, edited by Kendall  Johnson, Swarthmore College, Facts on File, 2010. Articles on William James; Robert Louis Stevenson; Henrik Anderse

    Compendium of Twentieth Century Novelists and Novels, edited  by Michael  Sollars, 2007:  “A.B. Yehoshua”;  “Mr. Mani”; “Erich Maria Remarque”; “All Quiet on the Western Front”; “Jose Saramago”; “Blindness”  “Gao Xingjian”; “Soul Mountain”

    Studies in American Naturalism,  2006. Review of  A New  Book  of  The Grotesques: Contemporary Approaches  to Sherwood Anderson’s Early Fiction, by  Robert Dunne 

    Birns Nicholas, and  Margaret Boe  Birns “Agatha Christie: Modern and Modernist”   The Cunning Craft: Original Essays on Detective Fiction and Contemporary Literary Theory , Walker  and Frazer, editors, 1990

    Ebsco Literary Resources Center, 2005-2006 50 biographical essays on European,  American, English and Canadian authors

    Journal of Canadian and Ethnic Studies, 2005 Review of A Complicated Kindness,  by Miriam Toews

    Encyclopedia of Modern Drama, edited by Gabrille Cody, Columbia University Press, 2004: “John Van Druten” 

    The Dreiser Encyclopedia,  edited by Keith Newlin, Garland Pub., 2004:  “Burton Rascoe,” and “Sinclair Lewis”

    The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature, edited by Steven. R. Serafin  and Valerie Grosvenor Myer, Continuum, 2003:   "Anita Brookner"; "Iris Murdoch"; "Agatha Christie"

    "Cherry Ames, Chief  Nurse, Feminism and    National  Sentiment in a Wartime Book for Girls," Annual Interdisciplinary  Conference on   World War II, Siena College, 1994.
    Guest lectures: "Recent English Fiction," " The   English Experience, " New York University, 1993  and 1994; "The English Novel," The Shakespeare  Club, 1992;  "The New York Novel," "Edith  Wharton's  Old New York,"  New York University's   "Sundays in New York" series, 1995-97

    Women's Studies, edited by Virginia Hlavsa, Fall 1993:  "Demeter as the letter D: Naming Women in The Sound and The Fury and As I Lay Dying."

    Massachusetts Review,  Winter, 1985 "Solving the Mad Hatter's Riddle "

    The Literary Review, Autumn, 1981: “Anthony Powell's Secret Harmonies"

    POETRY:  "Heaven," Journal of Popular Film and Television; "Incredible Justice," "Visitation," "Lady Going Crazy,"  in  Rolling Stone; "Primavera," Art Times;   "The Typewriter," Women Poems #3 (special issue featuring Adrienne Rich and Marge Piercy)  "Dinner at Eight," "The Apple Tree," New York Culture  Review   "Things in Dreams," International Dream Quarterly


    Performances and Appearances

    2023  Lecture Series on Agatha Christie, 92nd St. Y

    2018 “Fragments of Possible Stories,” Ottendorfer Library, NYC

    2017 #OneBookMcGhee: “ Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie";  discussion with Margaret Boe Birns

             “Reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead” with Margaret Boe Birns, NYUSPS Great Lecture Series

    2015 "Etgar Keret: The Seven Good Years," Brotherhood Synagogue guest lecture and discussion,

    2014  EnrichMint post-performance discussion :”John Van Druten: Life and Work, ” Mint Theater New York City..

    2010 Member of Panel on Tolstoy and Pedagogy, Tolstoy in the 21st Century, The New School                               

    2007 -8  Book Club Moderator for ING Corporation Book Club,     

                   Mount Pocono Book Club Guest Book Club Moderator

    2006 "Literary  Laurels,” ING Corporation Learning  at Lunch  Lecture

    2004 "The  Novel  Now, "ING Corporation Learning at Lunch  Lectures

    1997 "The New York Novel," and "Edith Wharton's Old New York,"  New York University's  "Sundays in New York" series

    1994 "Cherry Ames, Chief  Nurse, Feminism and National Sentiment in a Wartime Book for  Girls," Annual Interdisciplinary  Conference on World War II, Siena College, 1994.                                           

    1989 "Demeter as the Letter D," The American Names Society Conference, Baruch College,                                   

    1993 "Recent English Fiction," The English Experience, New York University, 



    Awards And Honors

    Award  for Excellence in Teaching 1985

    Finalist for Distinguished University Teaching Award, The New School, 2011.  


    Current Courses

    Mystery Masterworks
    NLIT 3834, Summer 2024

    Future Courses

    20th-Cent Am Short Story
    NLIT 0374, Fall 2024

    20th-Cent Short Story Classics
    NLIT 3374, Fall 2024

    Fantasy & Wonder
    NLIT 3542, Fall 2024

    Novellas Classic and Modern
    NLIT 3400, Spring 2025

    The Intimate Epic
    NLIT 0400, Spring 2025

    Past Courses

    Agatha Christie
    NLIT 3290, Fall 2023

    American Short Story
    NLIT 3364, Fall 2023

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