Jamie Bishop

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Jamie Bishop

Christopher James Bishop (November 9, 1971 – April 16, 2007), known as Jamie Bishop, was an instructor of German language at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, as well as an artist and craftsman. He was among those shot and killed in the Virginia Tech shooting.[1][2] He was the son of Michael Bishop, an award-winning science fiction author.[1]


Bishop grew up in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in German from the University of Georgia.[3] He was a Fulbright scholar at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. He helped run an exchange program at Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany. Bishop spent four years living in Germany, where (according to his web site) he "spent most of his time learning the language, teaching English, drinking large quantities of wheat beer and wooing a certain fraulein,"[4] Stephanie Hofer, who later became his wife. From 1995 to 1996 he taught at the Zentrales Sprachlabor of Ruprecht-Karls University[5] of Heidelberg, and collected survey data for his Master's Thesis, Jugendsprache: a critical study of German "Youth Language."[6]

Before teaching at Virginia Tech, Bishop worked in the Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services (OASIS) as an academic-technology liaison at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he provided technical support for faculty and staff members and graduate students. While at UNC, in addition to instructing German language classes, he developed a software package for students to digitally record and submit spoken language assignments to professors, a significant improvement over the previously used magnetic tape method. He received an OASIS Director's Choice Award in 2004.[5]

He left UNC in 2004 for Virginia Tech, where he was an instructor in German, and taught information technology for VT's Faculty Development Institute. In addition to being a German teacher, Bishop was a multimedia artist, photographer and graphic designer, who spoke of "changing the world with art".[7] He produced the cover art for Michael Jasper's book Gunning for the Buddha, and for five of Michael Bishop's books; and designed "ingenious pieces of furniture." [8] One of Bishop's "haunting" wrap-around book jackets is featured on the anthology Passing for Human, edited by Michael Bishop and Steve Utley.[9]

According to Michael Bishop, Jamie "spoke German like a native, understood computers inside out, played drums in a basement band, bicycled and hiked, followed the fortunes of the Atlanta Braves as obsessively as his mother, grandmothers, and I did, and made friends everywhere. He was a people lover from the get-go, and his energy levels put mine to shame."[8]

Bishop was killed on April 16, 2007, during the Virginia Tech shooting, while teaching an Elementary German class.[2][10][11]


A scholarship fund was established in Jamie Bishop's name for German majors at Virginia Tech.[12]

The annual "Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English" was established by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts as a prize for an essay on the subject of science fiction or speculative fiction not written in English,[13][14] open to students and scholars presenting papers at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts.


  1. ^ a b "Christopher James Bishop". Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. April 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Miller, Greg; Fausset, Richard (April 17, 2007). "Popular teacher among the first victims". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Chronicle of Higher Education, April 17 2007
  4. ^ Fox News (April 20, 2007). "Victims of Virginia Tech Shooting".
  5. ^ a b SEACOOS website (retrieved November 20, 2007)
  6. ^ Christopher James Bishop, Jugendsprache: a Critical Study of German 'youth language', University of Georgia (1998)
  7. ^ "Jamie Bishop: He talked about 'changing the world with art'," Roanoke Times April 18, 2007 (retrieved November 18, 2007)
  8. ^ a b Michael Bishop Website (retrieved November 18, 2007)
  9. ^ Introduction to "Vinegar Peace, or the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage" by Michael Bishop, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, July 2008, pages 64-5.
  10. ^ "Student Survivors Recount Shooting". ABC. April 17, 2007. Retrieved April 25, 2007.
  11. ^ "Making of a Massacre". Newsweek. Archived from the original on August 28, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
  12. ^ "RIP: Jamie Bishop (1971-2007)". SFWA.org. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. April 19, 2007. Archived from the original on January 22, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  13. ^ "20º Premio Anual Jamie Bishop Memorial Award" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 30, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
  14. ^ "2º Premio Anual Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for an Essay Not in English" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2007.

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