Author and blogger Steve Wiegenstein has been involved with the literature of the Ozarks since the late 1970s, when he co-founded Ozark Review magazine while working as a newspaper reporter in his home area. Since then, he’s taught at colleges and universities in the Ozarks, written scores of reviews and articles, and published award-winning novels and short stories. In this presentation, he will introduce the audience to some of today’s Ozark literary voices, who are staying close to their roots while moving well beyond the “hillbillies in the holler” stereotype. Steve’s short story collection, Scattered Lights: Stories, was recently named as one of the “25 favorite books of 2020” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Scattered Lights is a collection of short stories, many of which were published in literary magazines and anthologies, but some appearing for the first time. Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, wrote of the collection: “With his pitch-perfect sentences and compassionate insight, Wiegenstein’s memorable characters are achingly real as they grapple with their ordinary lives and peer into the uncertain future. Scattered Lights is one of the best collections of stories I’ve read in years.”

Steve grew up in the Ozarks, the setting for his novel series, and worked there as a newspaper reporter before entering the field of higher education. An avid hiker and canoer, he returns to his home region every chance he gets; he also writes and blogs about rural and Ozarks issues at He has taught journalism, English, and communication for a number of colleges and universities during his career. His academic degrees are in journalism and English from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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