Markley Named Creative Writing Fellow

Hannah D. Markley

The 2019 Hindman Settlement School Creative Writing Fellowship for Writers of Place is a service-leadership opportunity with boundless writing, arts, and community service opportunities. In our first fellowship of what hopes to be many, writer Hannah D. Markley has been selected to come and utilize her leadership and writing skills while overseeing various projects selected to fit her writer’s skillset here in Appalachia—specifically Knott County, KY.

Hannah D. Markley grew up in Southern Illinois, and she frequently imagined what it would be like to live far away from square plots of land and cornfields. Those ideals landed her at Houghton College where she earned her BA in International Relations and Spanish. She would then later travel to Wheaton College and would earn her MA in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. After applying her degrees in jobs like teaching and banking, Hannah realized that her best work was made at home, creating works and sharing them with others. Hannah then began writing and sharing her words with friends for fun, but later she began writing to make sense of her various life experiences. She also loves to travel to new places and through learning about others in new environments, she has in-turn learned a lot about herself. The places she lived significantly informed her understandings of beauty, grief, and belonging. Louisville, Kentucky has been her place of residency for over a year now, but she is eager for a new opportunity here in Appalachia through our fellowship program, the HSS Creative Writing Fellowship for Writers of Place. Hannah says that her work “is influenced by the words of Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, and Mary Szybist.” One of her missions through this fellowship opportunity is to “explore the theme of desire—specifically, the desire for a home and belonging.”

The Hindman Settlement School (HSS) Creative Writing Fellow, a 10-month appointment, will also get the opportunity to follow in the traditions of writers previous while also incorporating new, more innovative programs. Just as founders May Stone and Katherine Petitt helped to build the foundations of public schooling in Hindman, KY through their combined efforts while founding the Hindman Settlement School together in 1902, this educational service is through our online writing workshop platform entitled “The Makery.” Here, Hannah will be serving as the Instructional Director. She will be mentoring these eager, ready-to-learn writers for their four-week duration workshops made available to them anywhere in the United States online through our platform. Hannah will not only be mentoring the participating writers of our program, but also our educational instructors and coordinators of The Makery. Our leadership of this platform will too be receiving structural guidance from our new Fellow. Therefore, Hannah is helping to foundationally shape and contribute efforts that help to guarantee sustainability of our online workshop platform, just as our founders May Scott and Katherine Petitt did for our Settlement School so many years ago.  


Additionally, just as our organization has supported writers like James Still, Harriette Arnow, Crystal Wilkinson and Silas House, through support, time, and mentoring to help these emerging and established writers as they sought to understand the connections between self and place, our fellow will also be supported through our organization. These efforts will to aim to help cultivate and support their future creative endeavors, and potentially the endeavors of other writers as well. Our stipend and housing support will assist Hannah in her writing process, giving her a creative and safe environment to continue her writing and creative works. The Fellow will also help us to secure support of the Nikki Giovanni Scholarship, help to coordinate writers’ retreats and other Settlement events, and attend the annual Appalachian Writers’ Workshop and give a celebratory reading from the awarded book project at the end of their service term.

We look forward to welcoming Hannah into Hindman on October 1st, 2019—her official start to the Hindman Settlement School Creative Writing Fellowship for Writers of Place!

To learn more about our organization, it’s mission, and ways to support or assist us in our future endeavors, visit our website at!