Will Jennings

Iowa, United States

Member Since: 01/16/2017

Will Jennings (MFA, University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program) teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the Rhetoric Department, the UI Sustainability Certificate, and the Nonfiction Writing Program. He is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, NCTE, CCCC, Terra Madre/Slow Food International, Bioneers International, and the Maine Organic Farmers & Growers Association. Joining the department full-time in 2001, Will has served as a faculty leader in the Rhetoric Department's Professional Development Program. His successful grant award efforts established the Rhetoric Multimodal Studio for instructors and students to develop and refine multimodal composition projects in both GER and Advanced Rhetoric courses. He has also co-directed the Speaking Center and served as a Writing Fellows Mentor.

Will's academic research and teaching currently focuses on the rhetoric of sustainability, building resilient communities, food-agricultural-public health policy, and the rhetoric of place. He has taught undergraduate courses in Honors and GER Rhetoric, Teaching Multimodal Composition, The Rhetoric of Sustainability, the Undergraduate Nonfiction Workshop, Nonfiction Writing, Forms of the Essay, Forms of Nonfiction, Research and the Personal Narrative, and Multimedia Writing. He supervises independent study projects in nonfiction writing, Undergraduate Honors Thesis (capstone) Projects, as well as a member of numerous MFA Thesis Committees. He is currently Associate Editor, directing the Writer as Reader Essay Series for Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction Writing (Michigan State University Press).  Will was named a University of Iowa Creative Campus Institute Fellow in 2012 and has been trained as a facilitator by the The Project on Civic Reflection.  Prior to his teaching career, Will helped start and co-manage a cooperative wholesale food distributor, Blooming Prairie Warehouse, as well as manage publication design and pre-press operations for the then largest commercial printing operation in eastern Iowa. The Iowa City Council appointed Will to the Iowa City Board of Adjustment, a quasi-judicial body on which he served for four years.

Will Jennings’ poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Water~Stone Review, River Teeth Journal of Creative Nonfiction, The Southern Humanities Review, The Journal for Research in Rural Education,The Wapsipinicon Almanac, Trapeze, Exchange, Fugue, and ICON Magazine. His work has received numerous awards, including the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize. His photographic and multimodal essays on small, family-run food producers and resilient communities have been featured by the sustainable agriculture non-profit groups Farm Aid and Red Tomato. Two recent essays have been nominated by journal editors for Pushcart Prizes. He is currently at work on  two multimodal documentaries on rural citizen initiatives to create and sustain resilient communities through economic, environmental, and social re-invention.  Will is also a musician and songwriter who has performed in concert and at regional festivals as a member of the band Big Wooden Radio. He has appeared in concert on Iowa Public Television, at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, at South by South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, the CBC, and on National Public Radio.


  • How I Know Orion , Fugue Journal of New Literature (June 2005)
  • After Action Report , The Water~Stone Journal (October 2008)
  • Catch and Release. Repeat. , River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative (October 2010)
  • Moving In A Time Of War , The Southern Humanities Journal: Special Edition On Cultural Memoir (September 2013)
  • Staying Found , The Examined Life Journal (2012)
  • Learning Shift , Prairie Gold: An Anthology of The American Heartland, Ice Cube Press (2014)
  • How I Know Orion (Anthologized with Author's Pedagogical Annotation) , I'll Tell You Mine, University of Chicago Press (2015)


  • Brenda Ueland Prose Proze(2008)


  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Iowa (May 1997)

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Screenwriting, Poetry