About Andrew 2018-01-09T19:46:59+00:00

About Andrew

Andrew at Sand Dunes National Park for Nicole York’s “The Real Magicians,” 2016

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum is an award-winning freelance author, editor, and educator. He is Acquisitions Editor for Upper Rubber Boot Books, Founder and Editor of PoemoftheWeek.com and the Floodgate Poetry Series, Founder of the Little Grassy Literary Festival, Contributing-Editor for The Southern Indiana Reviewand editor of two literary anthologies: Apocalypse Now: Poems & Prose from the End of Days and The Plume Anthology of Long-ish Poems (forthcoming).

His first book of poems, Ghost Gear (University of Arkansas Press, 2014), was a finalist for the Miller Williams Prize, the Colorado Book Award, and the INDIEFAB. His second manuscript of poems, Visiting Hours, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Georgia Poetry Prize, the Jake Adam York Prize, the Miller Williams Prize, and the Akron Poetry Series in 2016 and 2017. 

Andrew reading from Visiting Hours at Slant Poetry Salon, Evansville, Indiana, 2017

His poemsreviewsinterviewspodcasts, and articles have been published in The Writer’s Chronicle, Poets & Writers, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, storySouth, Blackbird, InsideHigherEd.com, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. Andrew holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Andrew reading from Ghost Gear at William Rolland Stadium and Gallery of Fine Art, California Lutheran University, 2015.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, he received an Honors Degree in English from Virginia Tech in 2003 and spent several years thereafter traveling the country while working as a political organizer, chef, landscaper, and solar installer along the way. He got married in 2006 and joined the Masters of Fine Arts Program at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale as a Graduate Teaching Assistant that same year.

Andrew leading a workshop to high school students as the Nichols School Visiting Writer, Buffalo, NY, 2015

In his three years at SIUC, Andrew completed his first book of poems, Ghost Gear, and began work on another, Visiting Hours (formerly titled Marysarias), which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Georgia Poetry Prizethe Jake Adam York Prize, the Miller Williams Prize, and the Akron Poetry Series

Andrew with Floodgate Poetry Series, Volume 3 authors, Anders Carlson-Wee, F. Douglas Brown, Geffrey Davis, and Kai Carlson-Wee (left to right), Southern Festival of Books, 2016.

While in graduate school, he also founded his web-anthology, PoemoftheWeek.comin 2007, and The Little Grassy Literary Festival, in 2008, which brings contemporary writers such as Robert Wrigley, Rick Bass, Carolyn Forche, and Joe Meno to SIUC each Spring. He also served as Assistant Editor of The Crab Orchard Review, as Director of the Saluki Writers’ Project, and as Assistant Director of The Southern Illinois Young Writers’ Workshop. In 2009, he received the Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award from the English and Writing Studies Departments at SIUC.

Andrew was awarded his MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry that same year and relocated to Los Angeles, California where he spent a year as a Research Assistant in a neurogenetics lab at the Zilkha Neurogenetics Institute at the University of Southern California. He left the lab in 2010 for Adjunct Professorships at Pepperdine University and Pacific States University. In 2011, Andrew moved to Denver, Colorado and started his freelance editing, writing, and ghostwriting business while holding lectureships in Creative Writing and English Composition at the University of Colorado Boulder and Denver, Metro State University of Denver, the Community College of Denver, and CCCOnline.Check out his teacher ratings at RateMyProfessors.com here.

Andrew tearing his second collection, Visiting Hours, to utter pieces, 2018

In 2014, his first book of poems, Ghost Gear, was published by the University of Arkansas Press, and he took Ghost Gear on a book tour across the country.

In November of that same year, Andrew used the profits from his book tour to join the NAACP’s “Journey for Justice: Ferguson to Jefferson City,” a 134-mile march from Ferguson, Missouri to the capital of the state to seek justice for Michael Brown and bring about police reform. 

In this Dec. 3, 2014 photo, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, third from left, marches with NAACP activists toward the Gasconade River just outside Mount Sterling as they continue the “Journey for Justice” from Ferguson, Mo., to Jefferson City, Mo. McFadyen-Ketchum who read about a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., flew from Colorado to St. Louis to participate in the march. (AP Photo/Missourian, Hannah Baldwin) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT

“The Journey for Justice” forever changed Andrew’s life. His first book was about growing up in a mixed-race, working class neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He knew racism was alive and well in the United States, but he, like may people, wasn’t aware how bad it really was

Andrew protesting and interviewing other activists in Ferguson, Baltimore, D.C., and across the South

Andrew and another counter-protester at the “White Lives Matter” rally. Photo: Annabel Park

Since that initial encounter with the civil rights movement, Andrew has dedicated much of life to the movement, joining numerous marches and demonstrations across the country and writing about his experiences along the way. 

Andrew marching with the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice: Selma, AL to Washington, D.C.

In 2016, Andrew’s marriage ended after a decade, and he gave up nearly all of his possessions to embark on Walkabout, defined as “a journey on foot undertaken by an Australian Aboriginal in order to live in the traditional manner” or, perhaps more simply, “a walking tour.” Andrew’s forthcoming blog, Poet on Walkabout, chronicles his walkabout into the self, his search for a new life, and his exploration of the land beneath his feet that has taken him from the spreading of a loved one’s ashes in the Rio Grande National Forrest to the March to Confront White Supremacy from Charlottesville to Washington D.C. to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference to wildlife tracking in middle-of-nowhere Indiana to interviewing white supremacists in Shelbyville, TN to living in a tent for ten weeks in Illinois and, soon, five minutes from the beach in Los Osos, California. After that? Who knows? 

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (far right, bottom), Walter E. Dakin Fellow, Sewanee Writers’ Conference 2016

Andrew marching with the March to Confront White Supremacy, October 2017

The tent in Illinois