AWP 2018: Dispatches from Flyover Country

Room 11, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

It’s easy to find a literary community in places like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco—but what about the rest of us? In this panel, five writers and active literary citizens from small towns and mid-size cities in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Alabama will talk about their communities (both inside and outside of academia): what’s working, what isn’t, and how you might jumpstart a community if you live off the beaten path.


Silas Hansen teaches creative writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. His essays have appeared in SlateColorado ReviewThe Normal School, Hayden’s Ferry ReviewRedividerPuerto del Sol, and elsewhere.

Allison Joseph is part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She is the author of several books and chapbooks of poems, the director of the SIUC MFA Program, and she serves as editor and poetry edtior for Crab Orchard Review.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic. His first collection of poems, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released by Button Poetry in 2016. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, is forthcoming.

Brian Oliu is an instructor at the University of Alabama. He is the author of four books of nonfiction and two chapbooks, ranging from Craigslist Missed Connections, to computer viruses, to 8-bit video games, to NBA basketball. Works in progress deal with pro wrestling and long-distance running.

Mary Biddinger’s most recent collection of poems is Small Enterprise. She is Professor of English at the University of Akron and NEOMFA program, and edits the Akron Series in Poetry at the University of Akron Press. Biddinger is the recipient of a 2015 poetry fellowship from the NEA.

AWP-going friends, we would love to see you at this panel on Friday afternoon. Please join us for a conversation on creating literary community in unexpected places.