Creating Literary Community for All: Literary Centers and Reaching the Underserved

Room 2105, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Literary centers create and nurture vibrant and diverse literary communities across the United States, bringing together both writers and readers inside and outside academia. In this interactive panel, directors from established and emerging literary centers in urban and rural areas will explore the programs, readings, classes, workshops, events, outreach, and networking which help them to enrich both established writers and those without traditional access to literary arts programming and education.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: 2024_AWP_panel_outline_Creating_Literary_Community_for_All_v4.pdf



Shawn Girvan received his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. His work has appeared in The Pitkin Review, Wraparound South, and West Texas Literary Review. Shawn currently teaches and works at the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia and is finishing his first memoir.

Dariel Suarez is the Cuban-born author of the novel The Playwright's House and the story collection A Kind of Solitude, winner of the International Latino Book Award. He is education director at GrubStreet and resides in the Boston area.

Karen Schubert, founding director of Lit Youngstown in 2015, is a NEOMFA graduate and author of The Compost Reader and five poetry chapbooks. She has taught in numerous academic and community settings. Her awards include residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center.

Philip Memmer is the author of six books of poems, most recently Cairns. He founded and directs the YMCA's Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse, New York, and is publisher at Tiger Bark Press. He also teaches creative writing part-time at Hamilton College.

Heather Newton's award-winning books include The Puppeteer’s Daughters, McMullen Circle, and Under the Mercy Trees. She is cofounder and program manager for the Flatiron Writers Room in Asheville, North Carolina, and teaches creative writing for Charlotte Lit and UNC Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center