Winthrop professor named president of Mark Twain group

Winthrop University professor and accomplished Mark Twain scholar John Bird has been named president of the Mark Twain Circle of America.

The university announced Bird’s election for the two-year term this week. Already considered one of the nation’s top experts on Twain’s work, Bird is now the leader of the most important academic association of Twain scholars and enthusiasts, university officials said.

The Mark Twain Circle of America has more than 200 members worldwide. Bird says he hopes to increase membership.

As president, he’s responsible for planning Twain sessions at academic conferences and serving as spokesman for Twain to the national press and general public.

At Winthrop, Bird is director of the university’s teaching and learning center and he is the faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. He was also the founding editor of the Mark Twain Annual, which is now published by the Penn State University Press.

Bird has published many articles and a book about the famous American author. His book, “Mark Twain and Metaphor,” was published in 2007 and explores the author’s use of figurative language.

He is also working on a Twain biography to focus on one year of the author’s life.