Urban and Rural: Writing about Poverty

Rooms 347-348, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Saturday, March 11, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


While class is often the backdrop to a story rather than the main point, writing about poverty is often compartmentalized. Grit Lit, Street Lit, Kmart fiction, even noir, there seems to be a place to put this work rather than actually looking at it as writing about the human condition. This panel brings together prose writers from rural and urban settings to discuss commonalities, differences and the bigger picture when class is a major factor in the work.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2023_Outline.pdf


Michael Gills, Arkansas native, is author of four collections of short fiction, five novels, including the Go Love Quartet and Before All Who Have Ever Seen This Disappear, and two books of essays. He is a Distinguished Honors Professor of Writing for the Honors College at the University of Utah.

Troy E. Wilderson is an African American writer living in the Midwest. By day, she's an editor and graphic designer. Her work is in The Louisville Review, The Notre Dame Review, and F(r)iction, among others. She has an MFA from Spalding University, and is a 2019 McKnight Foundation Writing Fellow.

Stephanie Powell Watts, associate professor of English at Lehigh University, is the author of No One Is Coming to Save Us and We are Taking Only What We Need. She is the winner of the NAACP Literary Prize, the Pushcart prize, and awards from the Ernest J. Gaines and the Whiting foundations.

Francine Rodriguez's writing has been referred to as dirty realism with a feminist twist. She writes about marginalized people that she has lived with growing up near skid row in downtown Los Angeles, and others that she met while working in the fields of law and psychology over the years.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center