“An Argument Worth Having: Championing Creative Writing in the Disciplines” Published in English Leadership Quarterly!

I’m excited to announce that my recent article on ways to use creative writing assignments as formative assessments in secondary classrooms (not just ELA!) is now available in the October issue of English Leadership Quarterly.

You can access the full issue and the article abstract here:

Or, you can access the article directly here (NCTE membership required):


Heading to Tampa for CCCC


The 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication is upon us, and I have to say, I’m looking forward to leaving cold, dreary Terre Haute for sunny Tampa, where it appears the weather will perfect all week.

So, if you happen to be in Tampa, feel free to come see our panel, Re-Examining Creative Writing in Relation to Composition. It will take place on Thursday at 12:15 in the Marriott Meeting Room, Level Two. I’ll be presenting with Janelle Adsit (who was featured in Dispatches from the Classroom), Steve Westbrook, and Laura Wilder. My presentation is titled “Creative Writing Across the Curriculum and focuses on how creative writing assignments and exercises can successfully be “exported” to disciplines other than English.

Hope to see you there!

Settling In, Writing, and Conference Prepping

It’s been a while since my last update, due mostly to the fact that the first semester as an Assistant Professor is busier than I could have possibly imagined. The good news, though, is that we’re settled in Terre Haute and counting the days until we can once again take the cover off the pool.

In professional news, I’m excited to report that my department and colleagues are first-rate, and have made my adjustment to the tenure-track much less stressful than (I hear) it can be elsewhere. Also, the final draft of the novel is finished and queries are going out the door, with some good initial responses. I’ve also begun researching and outlining the second novel. All I can say so far is that the two things you’ll always find in southern Indiana are coal mines and corn fields, and I wrote about coal mining in the first novel…

Finally, though I’ll provide more detailed info soon, I want to let everyone know that I’ll be presenting on a panel at the 4Cs conference in Tampa this March. The name of the panel is “Re-Examining Creative Writing in Relation to Composition,” and my portion will be considering possible uses for Creative Writing in departments other than English. So, if you’re in Tampa, feel free to swing by the panel!

Now, back to grading papers…

Back Home Again (soon) in Indiana!

Everyone, I’m ecstatic to report that I’ve been offered, and have accepted, an Assistant Professor position in the Department of English at Indiana State University! I’m being hired specifically to teach English Teaching methods courses, but I’ll also continue to teach composition, literature, and creative writing, as the schedule requires.

There will be a LOT to do over the next couple of months (and even more after that), but for now, I’m so happy to report this news, and would like to thank all of my professors, colleagues, and supporters who have helped me reach this point. Onward and upward!

“Achilles’ Last Stand” Now Available at Wild Violet!

My latest story, “Achilles’ Last Stand” has just popped up on Wild Violet, as part of a featured collection on the theme of loss. I’m particularly excited that this story shows up online, since it’s written as a blog. The editors also picked out a lovely piece of art to lead it off. Head over here to have a read!

“Four by Eight” Now Available at Quarterly West!

Happy to share this morning that my latest essay, “Four by Eight,” shows up in the new issue of Quarterly West. You can find the essay here, or the entire issue here. (The issue also contains poems by fellow UWM grad students Lindsay Daigle and Kara van de Graaf, so it’s a good day for Plan C!)

Novel Excerpt Wins Ellen Hunnicut Prize!

I’m very happy to announce that an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, We Eat This Gold, has won the UWM English Department’s Ellen Hunnicut Prize for best novella or novel excerpt. It’s always a pleasure to attend the end-of-the-year awards banquet in our department, and this unexpected honor made this year’s ceremony extra special for me. Many thanks to those who made yesterday’s banquet so wonderful, and congratulations to the other prize winners!

Amazon author page now available

If you’d like to visit my Amazon author page, you can now follow this link:

An excerpt from “Shadow Rails”

In the summer of 2008, I find myself needing to travel one-way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon.  Normally, my method for solo travel would be a hunch-shouldered plane ride in coach, but this time I hesitate.  The great inconvenience of the post-September eleventh world is the airport, and I’ve dealt with one too many underpaid security guards with their please-step-back-throughs.  At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been on the Greyhound enough times (once) to know it’s not for me, so I begin to research the only option I’ve never explored.  For the first time in my life, I choose to travel cross-country by train.  I’ve been on trains before, of course, having traversed Great Britain repeatedly during my study-abroad semester of undergrad, but those trips clocked in at an hour or two and were in coach.  This time, I’ll pull out all the stops—first class, sleeper car, the whole shebang.  Nevermind that I’m an underpaid graduate student.  I want to see if the clock can still be turned back, maybe a century or more.  I want to find out where the tracks lead when I don’t meet them at perpendicular angles.

Rose-colored glasses securely fastened, I arrive at the Milwaukee Amtrak station on a late July afternoon, accompanied by my worn backpack, a borrowed suitcase, and a friend from whom I’ve bummed a ride.  Because he is a good friend, and stronger than me, he carries my suitcase into the lobby for me as I wrestle the bulging backpack over my arms.  Watching him tote my luggage, the halcyon visions of 19th century privilege begin in earnest.  This won’t be an irritable day spent in security lines and cramped airport seating.  I’m getting on a passenger train, just like Bill Hickok, Mark Twain, and the dozen other sepia-toned faces in my imagination.  I’ve forgotten the five hundred bucks I dropped for sleeper accommodations and the fact that a one-way plane ticket would have cost maybe one-fifty, because Agatha Christie never wrote about a Murder on American Airlines Flight Sixteen.

© Chris Drew 2012

“Four by Eight” wins AWP Intro Journals Award in Creative Nonfiction!

Some very good news this evening (and not even an April Fool’s joke).  I’ve just found out that my essay, “Four by Eight,” has been awarded the 2012 AWP Intro Journals Award in Creative Nonfiction.  Needless to say, I’m very excited to hear this, and also excited that the essay will be given a good home in Quarterly West early next year.  Many thanks to Liam Callanan and Dave Yost, both of whom provided valuable feedback to get the essay into fighting shape.  Quarterly West is an online journal, so when I have a link available, I’ll post it here.

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