R262. If You Build It, Will They Come? Cultivating Literary Culture at Rural Colleges

Room 210B, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
3:20 pm to 4:35 pm


How do we cultivate literary culture at rural colleges? When we seek to empower students to tell their stories while facing job and food insecurity exacerbated by remoteness and lack of opportunity, we must justify projects to administrators, secure funding with scarce resources, and avoid burnout. Panelists will share their experience sustaining lit journals, reading series, creative writing courses, and speaking events. We will discuss challenges, offer advice, and share successful strategies.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_19_Event_Outline_Bendell.docx



Heather Gemmen Wilson is an associate professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. She enjoyed an exciting career as a book editor before moving into academia and has published over 20 books. She is the founding director of a vibrant writing conference at a rural university.

Justin Bendell is a professor of English at University of New Mexico-Valencia. He has an MFA in fiction from Florida International University, edits Manzano Mountain Review, and co-hosts Point Blank Crime Fiction Podcast. His writing has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Meridian, Thuglit, and other publications.

Molly Ann Magestro teaches writing and literature at Miles Community College in Miles City, Montana. Her PhD in English and creative writing is from UW-Milwaukee, and she is the author of Assault on the Small Screen: Representations of Sexual Violence on Prime-Time Television Dramas.

Dr. Christine Grimes is a professor at Jefferson Community College (SUNY) in Watertown, NY. She co-hosts the annual North Country Writer’s Festival and participates in weekly brown bag poetry write-ins on campus. She has published two books of poetry, Finding Fruit Among Thorns and Last to Leave.

Phoebe Reeves earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, and teaches English at the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont College. Her chapbook The Gardener and the Garden was published by Seven Kitchens Press and her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Forklift OH, and Best New Poets 2018.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center