Image Description

Cailey Hall

Co-Chair

Cailey is a PhD Candidate in the English department, an unlikely Los Angeles native, and a somewhat more likely (British) Romanticist. Her dissertation, “Visceral Romanticism: The Literature and Culture of Digestion, 1780-1830” argues that writers in Romantic-era Britain engaged with changing understandings of health and illness to make sense of somatic and social issues, with a particular focus on the gut. She is also very invested in the interspecies friendship between Samuel Johnson and his beloved cat, Hodge.

Bethany Johnsen

Bethany Johnsen

Co-Chair

Bethany was born in southern California under admittedly inauspicious circumstances, but very quickly garnered acclaim for herself with a convincing performance as Baby Jesus in a church nativity play. Following a checkered theatrical career, she has since earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and very little money. As a third-year UCLA English PhD student, Bethany works on the 18th-century novel, Enlightenment philosophy, Gothic and sentimental fictions, and narrative theory. As a first-time Marathon Reading co-chair, she scribbles ideas in hopes of their eventual execution by herself and others. As a twenty-sixth year (reluctant) homo sapien, her non-academic interests include dogs and whales. Bethany is the prolific imagined author of numerous unpublished and unwritten texts.

Image Description

Greg Harrington

Professional Consultant

Greg is a partner in the Public Finance Department at the international law firm Orrick. He has particular expertise as bond counsel for cities, school districts, and special districts, and he also serves as underwriters counsel for a diverse group of national and regional investment banks. Greg holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from UCLA and a J.D. from the University of Southern California.

Rhonda Sharrah

Rhonda Sharrah

Promotional Coordinator

Rhonda is a first-year student in the UCLA English department, originally from Orange County but coming back down south after the last several years at San Francisco State, where she missed the sun but enjoyed earning an MA. She works on romance and epic, translation and adaptation, and book history in the medieval and early modern periods. Outside of academics, she follows movie and television award season races with the fervency of a fantasy footballer and is happy to be in L.A. where the free movie previews are plentiful. A wicked book habit in youth was the gateway to years of study as an English major, which has made her life into a kind of decades-long one-woman marathon reading. She’s happy to join the Marathon team this year and help encourage other people to do the reading for her this time.

Rhonda Sharrah

Robin Kello

Ragtag Volunteer

Robin was born in the wondrous and troubled land of North Carolina and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in English, specializing in literature of the early modern Mediterranean. Between those points, he has found himself teaching English in Barcelona and Madrid, working in the warehouse of New York's Strand bookstore, living on a mountainside in the Appalachians, serving beverages in a Granada teahouse, designing an undergraduate course on food justice, and organizing educational programs for recently resettled refugees. Along the way, Robin earned a B.A. in Sociology from NYU and an M.A. in English from UNC-Charlotte. A very, very long time ago, he published a single poem in a small journal about having a sandspur lodged under his tongue when he was a toddler. Like all reasonable folks, Robin is fond of coffee, dogs, and books, and he is delighted to be part of this year's Marathon Reading at UCLA.

Rebecca Hill

Rebecca Hill

Designer

Hailing from the Chicagoland area, Rebecca is a late-stage PhD candidate in medieval studies, which is exactly as morbid as it sounds. She writes on the influence of Arabic science in translation on early Middle English Poetics in the 13th century (that’s the 1200s, mom). She is known for seizing upon every opportunity, including academic guest lectures, as a totally unsolicited venue for vocal performance, and has traveled to 43 countries, all while earning a public school teacher’s salary, an accomplishment of which not even Mother Teresa can boast. Currently, she is a visiting researcher at Yale University and an adjunct instructor at Southern Connecticut State University; her favorite part of New England is the rotating seasonal flavor at Arethusa Farms ice cream shop. She is lactose intolerant.

Desi Aleman

Desi Aleman

Supreme Chancellor

Supreme Chancellor Desi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and acquired a flare for the dramatic at an early age to make up for his humble upbringing. Throughout his education as a UCLA American Literature and Culture major, Desi has fought in the American Revolution, sailed down the Mississippi River, ran with bootleggers, and single-handedly recovered the Maltese Falcon. He is also interested in a wide variety of international literature which he explores through his Comparative Literature minor. For the Marathon Reading, Desi occasionally designs and collaborates on promotional material as a Creative Director. (A title he clearly doesn’t consider grandiose enough to adopt.) During his spare time, Desi can be found drunkenly wandering about spewing philosophy, a subject he has no knowledge in, to anyone brave enough to ask his opinion on anything. His favorite color is red.

Pauline Alarcon

Pauline Alarcon

Social Media and Event Planning Officer

Polly is a 3rd year UCLA English Major and Theater Minor from Los Angeles. She fell in love with Victorian Literature at 13, after reading Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. She developed a passion for social media marketing after completing a Development and Social Media internship at New Horizons Picture Corporation in 2017. She became interested in event planning after completing the Student Ambassador program in event planning for Center Theater Group in 2014. She got involved in the Marathon Reading to immerse herself in the UCLA English community and to spread her love of Jane Eyre. While she impatiently waits for her Mr. Rochester, Polly haphazardly studies for the GRE and watches way too much television.

Abby To

Abigail To

Outreach Director

As Outreach Director, Abigail makes creative attempts at instagramming novels that are decades or centuries older than she, checks Facebook to see how many likes the page gets, and eats a lot of pizza during team meetings. Mostly though, she begs people for money. Restaurant owners, corporate leaders, and unsuspecting innocents alike get to see her plead for educational funding. In her free time, Abigail enjoys not falling completely behind on the stack of books and essays that her English major demands. Some quarters, she remembers that she’s also doing a minor in Global Studies and pulls her globe out of the attic. As a fourth-year undergraduate with a threatening case of senioritis, she also spends a lot of time watching Netflix. Before joining the UCLA Marathon Reading Team, Abigail spent 21 years searching for her life’s calling. This is apparently it.

Kristine Amyan

Kristine Amyan

Arts and Crafts Designer

Kristine was born in Armenia; her family moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. Having a passion for creative writing and literature, she decided to pursue a degree in English at UCLA, where she is currently working on her B.A. with a minor in Global Studies. Exploring different cultures has always been an interest of hers. Other interests include travel, photography, theatre, and design. She has been a part of various creative and fundraising projects throughout the years, such a singing and dancing concerts for her high school choir and cultural festivals at her community college. A designer and blogger, she takes photographs that illustrate the books for this year’s marathon reading and works on the stage design for the event.

About Us

The annual UCLA English Marathon Reading celebrates literature and community by staging the oral reading of an entire novel with dozens of contributing readers.

Contact Us

149 Humanities Building, Box 951530
Los Angeles, CA 90095

310 825 4173

Webmaster
El Matador