English professor talks skiing and home improvement

Assistant Professor of English Katie Owens-Murphy teaches a class in Bibb Graves Hall. She recently sat down with The Flor-Ala to discuss five interesting things about herself, including her love for craft beer and obsession with home improvement shows.

by Life Editor Tyler Hargett

Assistant Professor of English Katie Owens-Murphy keeps herself busy with various projects on and off campus.

Despite this, she still finds time to reminisce about her time as a skier or quench her thirst for craft beer and home improvement television shows.

Here are five facts about Katie Owens-Murphy that she shared with The Flor-Ala.

1. Owens-Murphy is obsessed with home improvement shows.

Owens-Murphy said she loves sitting down to watch multiple shows on Home & Garden Television, most likely because she finally owns a home herself.

“It’s amazing to see the way that these professionals can totally reconfigure the space of a house,” she said. “I admire people who have that kind of vision.”

She said a home’s space is important, because it affects the experience and moods of its residents. 

2. Owens-Murphy loves craft beer.

“I prefer craft beers, because each has a unique flavor and they change seasonally,” she said.

Owens-Murphy said Singin’ River Brewing Company has become one of her favorite places to get a drink, especially because of Code Chrome, one of her choice menu items.

“It incorporates so many unique flavors, including lemongrass, and it’s so refreshing,” Owens-Murphy said.

She said two more of her favorite kinds of craft beer are blonde and farmhouse ales.

3. Owens-Murphy’s daughter’s name comes from a novel.

Owens-Murphy’s daughter, Addie, gets her name from Addie Bundren, a character in the 1930 William Faulkner novel, “As I Lay Dying.”

The book describes a family’s mission to fulfill Bundren’s dying wish: for a burial in another town with her family.

She said while the character may seem like an odd inspiration for her daughter’s name, there is a special reason for the choice.

“(My husband and I) always wanted her to be able to think for herself and pursue her own path independently of what anybody expects from her,” Owens-Murphy said. “Addie Bundren wanted just that, but never had the freedom to see it through.”

4. Owens-Murphy used to ski frequently.

She said while living in New York, she skied often to pass the time during long winters.

Beginning when she was a child, she became a downhill skier and participated in the sport for about eight years.

Owens-Murphy said her hatred of the cold eventually overpowered her love of skiing, which resulted in her quitting.

“I knew it was time to throw in the towel when, while my friends were skiing, I would stay inside the lodge with a book near the fire,” she said. 

5. Owens-Murphy married her high school sweetheart.

Owens-Murphy and her husband, Brian, have been married for almost 15 years, with their relationship beginning in high school.

“We’ve been together for almost half of our lives,” she said. “That’s stunning when I stop to think about it. It’s pretty wild to look back at our prom photo, because we looked like babies.”

She said her husband was very shy during high school, so she kept pursuing him.

After dating for one month, he proposed to her. They were married six years later after finishing college.

She said they keep their senior prom picture on their bedroom dresser.

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