Meet the 2023-2024 Southern Studies Fellows

Meet the 2023-2024 Southern Studies Fellows

September 11th 2023 | 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Join the Hub City Writers Project and Chapman Cultural Center for a reception at Hub City Bookshop, welcoming the 2023-2024 Southern Studies Fellows in Arts and Letters to Spartanburg! Please feel free to drop-in and say hi, or chat and stay awhile.


About the Fellows

John W. Bateman writes and looks for stories from the Deep South. His work has appeared in places like The Chicago Tribune, The New Southern Fugitives, Electric Literature, Facing South, The Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly, and on the silver screen. He has a not-so-secret addiction to glitter and, contrary to his southern roots, does NOT like sweet tea. His first novel, “Who Killed Buster Sparkle?” was a 2020 Nominee in Fiction by the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters and recipient of the 2019 Screencraft Cinematic Book Award. In 2023, John received his MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a 2023 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow.

Mo Kessler is a queer multimedia object maker, installation artist, and community organizer from Kentucky. Mo’s work has been shown throughout central Appalachia and the South. They received their BFA in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007 and their MFA in Studio Art from Western Carolina University in 2021. Mo was a co-founder of the LIVLAB Artist Collective at Western Carolina University and the founder of Shelter In Place (SiP), an online artist residency program for artists engaged in community organizing and activism during the beginning of the Covid pandemic. As a community organizer, Mo has worked on campaigns against racial injustice, food insecurity, foreclosures, police brutality, and Mountain-Top Removal.

About the Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters

The Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters is a three-year initiative jointly hosted by Chapman Cultural Center and Hub City Writers Project and funded through a three-year $150,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation. 

The fellowship is an eight-month residency of research, creativity, teaching, and travel to collaborate on a project informed by the region. The fellows will live and have studio space in Spartanburg, SC, and are tasked with immersing themselves in the culture of the American South, along with participating in community service for educational purposes. A key component of this unique fellowship is the opportunity to interact with leading scholars, artists, and writers throughout the Southeast and to conduct research at prominent cultural and educational institutions. This research will inform their work and will be critical in the development of their collaborative project to expand their understanding of the modern South.

Missed an event? Visit our YouTube channel here for event recordings from our virtual events and other fun recorded content!

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