Austin Smith will read from his new poetry collection, Flyover Country, an investigation of violence: the violence we do to the land, to animals, to refugees, to the citizens of distant countries, to one another. Smith holds up to the reader the beauty and cruelty of rural life, drawing from memories of his childhood on a family dairy farm in Illinois. In writing about the Midwest, Smith critiques the condescending idea of rural America as mere “flyover country,” while at the same time suggests that America herself has become a “flyover country,” carrying out drone strikes and surveillance abroad, locked in a state of perpetual war that its populace is weary of but seems helpless to stop.

Where: Sinsinawa Mound Center /​ 585 County Road Z /​ Sinsinawa, WI 53824
When: September 25, 6:30 - 8 pm

DATE: November 16, 2017
CONTACT: Austin Smith

National Endowment for the Arts Announces FY 2018 Creative Writing Fellows

Austin Smith is among 36 recipients selected nationwide.

Oakland, California – Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Austin Smith is one of 36 writers who will receive an FY 2018 Creative Writing Fellowship of $25,000.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to provide crucial funding to support these writers in their creative endeavors and to continue expanding the range of ideas and viewpoints available to readers,” said Amy Stolls, NEA director of literature.

Smith was selected from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants. Through its Creative Writing Fellowships, the NEA gives writers the freedom to create, revise, conduct research, and connect with readers. Applications are reviewed by a panel through an anonymous process and are judged solely on the artistic excellence of the work sample provided. Fellowships alternate between poetry and prose each year and this year’s fellowships are to support prose—works of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Since 1967, the NEA has awarded more than 3,400 Creative Writing Fellowships worth $46 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of NEA fellowships early in their careers.

For more information on NEA Creative Writing Fellowships, visit the NEA’s Writers' Corner.

Austin Smith grew up on a family dairy farm in northwestern Illinois. His first collection of poems, Almanac, was published by Princeton University Press. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, Smith is currently a Jones Lecturer in the English Department at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in poetry, fiction, environmental literature and documentary journalism.