Friday, February 25, 2011

MWG Welcomes Dr. Susan Swartwout

Six weeks from today, we'll be kicking off the MWG "Just Write!" Conference in St. Louis.  I hope everyone is as excited about meeting new writing friends and getting reacquainted with the old ones as I am.  I've met really wonderful people this year as we've been planning the conference and I would be remiss if I didn't point out how our MWG members have stepped up to the plate to help make this successful.

I would like to begin with Dr. Susan Swartwout, new to MWG this year and the driving force behind the SEMO Press she created and continues to nurture.  The small press has earned a big name in Missouri publishing, with titles ranging from The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas to Faulkner and Twain to Mohammed Ali and the Greatest Heavyweight Generation.  

Then, there's Big Muddy, a biannual literary journal, recently reviewed by Molly Clasen of who wrote, "This journal reads like a road trip. Its rich landscape left me with a lingering sense of journey as I found characters and imagery replaying in my mind like saturated photographs....Next time you yearn to roll down your windows, hop in a car, and speed toward the sunset, I suggest letting Big Muddy feed your appetite for adventure. It’s a rowdy, profound ride and worth every second."

Susan isn't just a publisher, she's a writer and a poet with books and chapbooks of her own.  But it's Susan's enthusiasm for sharing her love of the written word with others that makes her very special.  In January, she and her assistant at SEMO Press, Donna Essner, also a new MWG member, launched a new SEMO Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild.  I had asked Susan how many she expected at the first meeting.  "Oh, maybe about 10 or 12," she answered.  She was shocked when 30 people showed up, many of them her former students.

Their second chapter meeting is tomorrow and the group has not only grown since their initial meeting, many of the new chapter members have registered to attend the conference.  And Dr. Swartwout will be actively participating also, sitting on both the Agents and Editors Panel and the Literary Fiction/Literary Journal Panel, as well as hearing pitches and giving pitch pointers on Saturday.

For writers who aren't acquainted with Dr. Susan Swartwout, make it a point to get to know her.  You'll be glad you did.


  1. Six weeks from today?? That made me perk up! Especially since we have snow covering everything this morning!

    I've met Susan and she gives great presentations and is a pleasure to talk with.

  2. I am so looking forward to meeting her and experiencing everything the conference has to offer.