Writer, Teacher, Researcher
Rebekah Buchanan is a writer, educator, and activist who believes in the power of stories. Her work examines the role of stories in people’s lives. Her academic research examines zines and the writing life of zine creators; the stories of students, teachers, and readers; and ways to teach narrative and story in the English classroom.
She has published articles on popular culture and music in the classroom, youth’s out of school literacy practices, and Riot Grrrl rhetoric in zines. Most recently, she is researching the experiences of first-year high school English Language Arts teachers in rural schools and is also conducting interviews with Harry Potter fans about their relationships with the series.
Her creative work is inspired by popular culture and the narratives of the ordinary found in the everyday. She writes poetry and flash creative nonfiction and fiction. She is perpetually working on a mystery to honor her love of Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and other fabulous female mystery writers.
She is Director of English Education and an Associate Professor of English and at Western Illinois University. Before coming to Western, Buchanan spent a number of years teaching high school English, creating an alternative high school in a CBO, designing summer writing programs for middle and high school youth, and doing writing center administrative work. At Western, she primarily teaches English Education methods and professional writing courses. She won the 2017 Provost Award of Excellence for Teaching with Technology.
Buchanan Co-Directs the Expanding Cultural Diversity Project at WIU and does literacy work on and off campus. She started the Macomb 3R’s Chapter which donates books to area prisons. She also does writing workshops in area prisons, jails, and youth detention centers.
When she’s not teaching and writing, you can find her training for her first century, blogging about mysteries, taking pictures of train tracks, listening to 80s punk and Brit pop (especially The Smiths), watching Supernatural, playing games with her kids, preparing for the zombie apocalypse, looking for the new ways James Franco makes her laugh, reading, watching British murder mysteries, and dreaming of a World Series at Wrigley Field (the fact that this dream actually happens makes her one happy baseball fan).