Beyond Books: Alternative Careers in Writing

Room 2101, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Many aspire to “the writer’s life”—publishing books, realizing literary fame—an often inaccessible, even exclusionary, ideal. But there is another way: a life in writing. What paths exist for those not seeking agents or haunting literary magazines but whose writing ambitions and accomplishments are just as relevant? A panel of Kansas City writers—an undergraduate, assessment writer, educator/storyteller, and print/radio journalists—discuss their unique experiences embodying a life in writing.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Beyond_Books_Event_Outline_2.2_.24_.pdf
Supplemental Document 1: Supplement_Excerpts.pdf
Supplemental Document 2: Beyond_Books_for_projector.pdf



Brooke Palmer is a career language arts assessment writer, currently for GED, and freelance writer/journalist. She has written weekly music, nightlife, and culture columns for the Kansas City Star and San Antonio Current, and experiments in podcasts and memoirs.

Carmen Cantu is an undergraduate student at the Kansas City Art Institute. She was awarded a scholarship for the major/minor program with her major focus in the creative writing department. Carmen competed in a slam poetry group at her high school, further solidifying her pursuit in writing and poetry.

John "Br. John" Anderson—author, storyteller, motivational minister, five-time Best of KC Fringe Fest winner—entertains audiences with his brand of interactive storytelling. Former early childhood educator, Br. John has written, produced, and recorded albums of historical storytelling in prose and music.

Barbara Shelly is a journalist, writer, and editor based in Kansas City. She has worked for newspapers in three cities and now contributes to multiple publications as a freelance journalist. Barbara also works as a contract editor for independent and public media sites.

Lewis W. Diuguid is the political action chair for the National Association for Multicultural Education. He was a journalist for more than thirty-nine years for the Kansas City Star. He is the author of A Teacher’s Cry, Discovering the Real AmericaOur Fathers: Making Black Men; and Exploring Cuba.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center