Welcome to the first of our Americana Stories podcasts! This new series of programs will highlight the writers, staff, and work that define the museum and its mission of reenvisioned Americana in poetry, prose, art, and music. In today’s inaugural episode, prose editor Lauren Alwan chats with the newest member of the museum team, prose editorial assistant Montéz Jennings, about her move west from Baltimore, her studies in the MFA program at Chapman University, how region informs food culture, Hitchcock’s Psycho versus John Carpenter’s Halloween, post-human rhetoric, and much more.

Listen to our first episode now!

Montéz Jennings is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Baltimore city. She is a dual degree graduate student studying English and creative writing at Chapman University, where she currently teaches a horror-themed English and rhetoric course. After receiving her BA from the University of Baltimore, she taught high school English, 6th grade ELA, and then decided to pursue her MFA. In August 2020, she drove across the country to make adventures in Orange County, California. She has received the Harriet Williams Emerging Writers Award and presented at RSA (Rhetoric Society of America conference), and writes under the name Montéz Louria. Read her work here.

Lauren Alwan has been a prose editor at the museum since 2012. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Nimrod International, The Bellevue Literary Review, StoryQuarterly, Atla Journal, and World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of a First Pages Prize from the de Groot Foundation, the Bellevue Literary Review’s Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, and a citation of Notable in Best American Essays. She is a columnist at Catapult, a staff contributor at Litstack, and serves on the board of WTAW Press, a nonprofit independent publisher. Learn more at www.laurenalwan.com.