For Lauren Chochinov, an instructor at the University of Winnipeg’s (U of W) English department, choosing a career path wasn’t exactly cut and dry.
“As an undergraduate, I was one of those people that really had no idea which direction I wanted to go,” she says, “other than not sciences.”
But after Chochinov took a medieval literature class during her second year of university, she was enthralled.
“I just kept taking English courses,” she says. “Then I took it too far and didn’t stop.”
Soon after finishing school, Chochinov landed a position at the U of W, where she taught for two years before moving to Toronto.
“As many Winnipeggers do, I moved east to seek fortune and glory and found neither of those things.”
(Un)fortunately, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chochinov was able to return to the U of W when most courses switched to remote learning. Now, she’s teaching a second-year British literature class.
“We go from year 800 all the way up to 1660 in, like, 12 weeks,” she says. “But it works.”
For Chochinov, the most fascinating literature is from the late 14th century – specifically, Arthurian literature, which was the topic of her PhD dissertation.
While she’s moved on from researching that particular era, Chochinov believes the 14th century is unparalleled.
“People are going to fight me on that,” she says. “I have no upper-body strength, so I’d prefer not to.”
Rather than fight about it, Chochinov prefers to teach it.
“We as a species love stories. We always have,” she says. “These are some of the best stories that have ever been told.”
What is something you’ve learned from your students?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I like to acquire a silly amount of Star Wars merchandise.”
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If you could have a conversation with any of the characters from Arthurian literature, who would you speak with?
“Morgan le Fay, because I think she’d be a really interesting conversationalist.”
Published in Volume 76, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 25, 2021)