Writing and the Day Job: How Writers Maintain a Living Outside of Academia

Room 2103C, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
3:20 pm to 4:35 pm


There’s an old lie about the arts: if you can’t live off your passion, you teach. This adage was true for writers who also built a life as professors in academia, but with tenure-track jobs shrinking and stable writing jobs low, how can one maintain a healthy life, writing career, and plan for the future? In this panel, five published authors in various genres discuss their different career paths in law, tech, nonprofits, and other fields while also writing.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2024_Event_Outline_Day_job.pdf



Mark Galarrita is a graduate of the 2017 Clarion West Writers Workshop and the University of Alabama MFA program. His writing can be found in McSweeney’sElectric LiteratureNightmare magazine, Split Lip, and elsewhere. Currently, he works at Scribner.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The American Daughters (forthcoming), The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You: Stories, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and We Cast a Shadow: A Novel, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize.

Mina Hamedi represents adult literary fiction and nonfiction. She is interested in stories from around the world, particularly her native Turkey and Iran. She is an associate agent at Janklow & Nesbit where she works with cofounder Lynn Nesbit. She lives in New York City with her Turkish street cats, Saffron and Lemon.

Josh Riedel is the author of Please Report Your Bug Here. He worked at tech startups for several years before earning his MFA from the University of Arizona. His short stories have appeared in One Story, Joyland, and Passages North, among others. He lives in San Francisco, California.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center