Alternative Professions to Academia for MFA Graduates

Professionals from the literary field discuss alternative career paths to academia.

Event Date
Event Time
3:20 pm - 4:35 pm
Event Venue
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

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In this CLMP-sponsored panel, professionals from the literary field discuss alternative career paths to academia, including magazine publishing, writers-in-the-schools programs, literary conferences and festivals, and arts administration.

Learn more about this panel and register for AWP.


113A, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 100 Level



Shannon McNerney is the executive director at Fishtrap, a literary arts organization in rural northeast Oregon best known for the Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers.

Libby Flores is a 2008 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Gagosian Quarterly, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Post Road Magazine, and more. She is the former director of literary programs at PEN Center USA (now PEN America Los Angeles).

Asari Beale is the executive director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, a board member of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, and a steering committee member of LitNet, a network serving America’s literary community.

Steph Opitz is VP of partnerships at Zibby Books and founder of The Loft Literary Center’s Wordplay book festival. A visiting instructor at the University of Minnesota, she serves on committees for the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and LitNet.

Jafreen Uddin is the executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991. With over a decade of experience working in the public sector, she specializes in communications, education, and fundraising.