My family history and politics intersected in the 1920s when a demagogue, D.C. Stephenson, who declared himself “the law in Indiana,” arose from a populist uprising. After growing up on the farm in Indiana where family had lived for over one hundred years, I attended Indiana University. I transferred to UC Berkeley where I received a B.A. with Honors (and was editor of the Barrington Bull) and then an M.A. from NYU in American Literature. Previously, I have been a creative writing instructor at the college level. For work with student success at Sheridan College, I received a NISOD Excellence in Education Award. I am currently the director of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and received a Distinguished Lecturer award from Sheridan College for the presentation I developed as a companion to Writing Floyd.
I have given over 30 presentations at academic conferences, including papers on patriotism, pioneer identity and the Pledge of Allegiance at the Modern Language Association, American Studies Association and the Society for the Study of Social Imagery as well as numerous other conferences. Upcoming events include presentations at the Florida Hemingway Society (Gainesville, Florida, September 2019) and the International Hemingway Society Conference (as site director and presenter, Sheridan, Wyoming, July 2020). Academic articles have been published by Indiana University Press, Michigan State University Press and the Journal of Research and Practice.
I grew up in my grandfather Floyd's house and on the family farm situated between Noblesville and Fishers in central Indiana. I had no idea how revisiting family history in this memoir would change how I looked upon seemingly innocent details of my childhood. Since leaving the family farm, I've lived in many places around the country, often while attending college. I've attended Indiana University, the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University, and have taught at Long Island University and Sheridan College. Some awards include the NISOD Excellence in Education Medal, National Endowment for the Arts/Wyoming Arts Council Creative Nonfiction Writing Fellowship, and being named a Wildacres Artist Fellow. I am currently the director of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant at Sheridan College in northeastern Wyoming. Connect with me on Goodreads: JL Sutton Goodreads
Directing the NEH Hemingway Grant
At the Ernest Hemingway Cabin at Sheridan College's Spear-O Mountain Campus in the Bighorn Mountains. I am currently the director of the National Endowment for the Humanities Creating Humanities Communities along Wyoming's Hemingway Highway Grant. As director of an NEH Creating Humanities Communities grant, I have organized and made introductions at writer events for Yaa Gyasi (March 2018), Kevin Powers (April 2018), Sigrid Nunez, Darla Worden and Robert Elder (August 2018), Phil Greene (September 2018), Suki Kim (October 2018) and Lisa Ko (May 2019). Upcoming events include Ling Ma, Elisa Schappell and Ian Bassingthwaite (September 2019) and Craig Johnson (July 2020). I also created a comic book exhibition in Sheridan, Wyoming (August 2018) that will travel to Gainesville, Florida (September 2019) and Lansing, Michigan (early 2020). In addition, I helped write the script for the Hemingway Highways Tour (TravelStorysGPS), a smartphone audio tour narrated by Mariel Hemingway set to launch in June 2019. I'm very excited that we're bringing the Hemingway Society's International Conference to Wyoming in 2020!
Some of the fabulous writers it's been my pleasure to work with include: Yaa Gyasi, Suki Kim, Sigrid Nunez, Kevin Powers, Tommy Orange and Lisa Ko.