UMass Dartmouth English professor publishes short story fiction on experiences of mother whose journalist son was executed abroad

‘The Body’ by English Professor Caitlin O’Neil published in ‘The Kenyon Review’

Caitlin Oneil
Caitlin O'Neil came to UMass Dartmouth in fall 2009.

UMass Dartmouth College of Arts & Sciences faculty member Caitlin O’Neil has recently published her short story fiction The Body published recently in The Kenyon Review. The work tells the story of a mother and her family facing the tragedy of her son, who was a journalist kidnapped abroad. Matthew, the son, is executed, the video recording of which is posted online by the terrorist group which captured him.

“During the summer of 2014, I was caring for a newborn,” Professor O’Neil said. “As I watched the news, I felt horror and compassion watching mothers lose their children so violently, so far from home, and I began to imagine the lengths I might go to to get my child back.”

The Body follows the mother, Nora, in her dealings with the publicity of her son’s death and wish for some form of closure and the hope to see her son’s body once more.

According to Reporters Without Borders, 720 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past decade.

The Kenyon Review is an international journal of literature, culture, and the arts, published in March, June, September, and December at Kenyon College. The literary magazine, founded in 1939, has published early works by generations of important writers. The Kenyon Review is a not-for-profit enterprise supported in part by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council.

Caitlin O'Neil came to UMass Dartmouth in fall 2009. She teaches Intermediate Composition, Journalism, and fiction. Prior to joining the UMass faculty full-time, she taught as a senior lecturer at Suffolk University. Prior to teaching, Professor O’Neil was an award-winning writer and producer for WGBH Interactive in Boston, working on well-known PBS programs such as American Experience, Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery, Antiques Roadshow, and This Old House. She has been a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, and is a board member of the Writers' Room of Boston.

Her journalism has appeared in The New York TimesThe Boston GlobeRunner's WorldBudget TravelPublishers WeeklyPoets and Writers magazine, and other publications. Her short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Calliope, Ninth Letter, Beloit Fiction Journal, won the 2013 Ninth Letter Prize in Fiction and the 2012 Women Who Write International Short Prose Contest, and received a 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council individual artist grant. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 1995 and her BA from Tufts University in 1993.


College of Arts and Sciences