20 Questions with assistant professor of English John Kinkade ‘95
August 4, 2011
Assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center.
2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Bowling Green, Ky. — quickly becoming a more interesting place than it seemed to be when I grew up there.
3. What are your hobbies?
Cooking, tennis, reading things that aren’t directly connected to work and planning return trips to the UK.
4. What is your dream vacation?
An extended stay in London with my wife and kids with plenty of opportunities to explore the Continent [as the British call Europe]. The continent part is more for my wife than for me — I’d be happy to stay in London.
5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
William Hogarth. Horribly underrated.
6. Favorite novel or poem?
Novel: “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. Poem: “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. And I’ll spend the next three months fretting about other favorites that I didn’t mention here.
7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
Tennis to play, UK basketball to watch.
8. Favorite TV show?
I think “The Wire” narrowly edges out “The Simpsons.” Lately, though, “Sesame Street” has been the only show I watch, and it really is wonderful.
9. Favorite album?
10. Favorite holiday?
Christmas for all the traditional reasons, plus we go back to Naples, Fla., (where my wife grew up) then.
11. Favorite food?
What isn’t improved by cilantro is probably improved by Parmesan cheese.
12. Most prized possession?
My wedding band, which once belonged to my great-grandmother, nicely ties together my families old and new. And it must be said: we had to stretch the ring a little, but still, my great-grandmother must have had an oddly large hand.
13. Three people, living or deceased, whom you’d invite to the same dinner party?
Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and Bruce Johnson at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London. And I’d plan it so that Charles Dickens and Milton Reigelman were at the next table.
14. Favorite aspect of your job?
I spend my days with interesting people: great students and wonderful colleagues.
15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
My parents and I drove from Bowling Green to San Diego to visit my oldest brother one summer. It was my first time through the Southwest and my first time in California, which were astonishingly different from Kentucky. I’m happy to report that I’ve always enjoyed traveling with my parents.
16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
I’d be teaching somewhere else — I’ve never had any doubt that I made the right career choice.
17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you?
The Governor’s Scholars Program at Centre in 1990. My summer as a scholar opened me up to the world of ideas in a way that my traditional schooling had not. It made me hungry for more. The intensity and importance of that experience is why I’ve been working with the Program for so long.
18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
I don’t really think about fiction this way — I don’t try to imagine my way into character, not to mention that the main characters in most good fiction are so often miserable. So I’ll opt for Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s thrillers. That’s something different from a professor’s life.
19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
The path down the hill from Old Centre to the Campus Center always feels especially peaceful to me.
20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Learn to concentrate — by which I mostly mean learn to ignore your phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. when it’s time to work.
Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and has named Centre No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South for two years in a row. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, click here.