Brooks Rexroat: Author. Educator. Editor. Not Nesessarily in That order.



Brooks Rexroat: Author. Educator. Editor. Not Nesessarily in That order.

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Author. Educator. Editor.

Brooks Rexroat was raised near Cincinnati, Ohio at the intersection of the Rust Belt and Appalachia: the crossing point of mountain and farm field, boarded mine and shuttered factory, the water that splits north from south. The importance of place has always surrounded him, and it deeply inhabits his characters. 

After earning a Master of Fine Arts Degree in creative prose from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he embarked on a journey in higher education that has included teaching opportunities at open enrollment community colleges, regional public universities, and rigorous private liberal arts colleges.

Now based at Brescia University in Western Kentucky, Rexroat spent the 2016-2017 academic year as a Fulbright U.S. Teaching and Research Scholar at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Siberia, Russia. He was a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow in Cassis, France and his stories and essays have appeared in more than 30 journals and magazines on three continents.


The stories in Thrift Store Coats are a fusion of heart and grit, adventure and adversity. Here, Brooks Rexroat flexes his literary powers sentence by sentence and establishes himself as a vital voice from the Rust Belt. Thrift Store Coats is an electrifying debut from a writer with a shrewd intellect, compiling complex stories of a changing America.
— Angela Palm, author of Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here





The Fiction of Place

"I’ve lived in a lot of places that would be considered edges: from living on the coasts in Ireland and France to living on the edge between the Rust Belt and Appalachia, the border between the north and south, and so I’m really sensitive to the extreme difference that a couple of miles or kilometers, a few degrees of latitude, a few pixels on a map can make in the way a person’s life unfolds, and that’s something I’m really interested in exploring."

From Appalachia and the Rust Belt to Ireland and Eastern Europe, Brooks Rexroat’s stories explore myriad ways in which people interact with their environments, the ways in which a plot of ground or a few specks on the map can alter opportunity and access, attitude and outcome. A 2016-2017 Fulbright U.S. Teaching and Research Scholar to the Russian Federation, he has also completed fellowships in Ireland (National University of Ireland at Galway) and France (Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellowship) and traveled broadly across the northern hemisphere.  Informed by his upbringing at the intersection of the southern Rust Belt and northwestern Appalachia, the geography of life has always been an important piece of his experience, and this sense of exploration routinely filters into his characters and their encounters. 

Brooks Rexroat is at his best in Thrift Store Coats. These characters have grit and guts, and Rexroat exposes their vulnerabilities as he unravels layers of Midwestern identity. It’s an ambitious collection threaded by class and poverty, love lost and found, and the pursuit and failing of the American Dream. The people and places will haunt you as you question your own place in our country’s changing landscape.
— Melissa Scholes Young, author of Flood: A Novel





Flexible, Thoughtful, thorough

"A teacher's primary job is to encounter every student where they are, and to help them gradually and purposefully elevate their own work."

Creative Writing:

"In the creative workshop, unfettered imagination collide with dogged hard work. i want my students to see possibility rather than limit, and to develop the bravery to pursue unfettered imagination through careful planning and masterful revision."


"A good literature course is one in which students learn to explore texts with curiosity, detailed reading, critical response. we argue, we write, we respond--we even revise in order to understand choices an author has made and their impact on the text. strong reading is about immersion, and that is how i shape literature courses."


"Courses in workplace writing are every bit as essential to the writer's development (and to the employee's) as basic composition: here, we learn how to apply the theories, functions and skills to the concrete and real work of communicating within an organization, whether be artistic, corporate, social, or religious."


With experience in private and public colleges and universities, Brooks' first priority is to meet students where they are and help them to meet their goals in an honest, straightforward way. Primarily a teacher of creative writing and literature, he has extensive training and experience in all levels of composition as well as workplace writing, writing across the disciplines, and media/journalism.


Rexroat's academic focus and his primary area of scholarship and publication. This year, he is working with a team from the foreign language faculty at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Siberia, Russia to study the effectiveness of prose writing workshops as a component of English as a Second Language instruction. Through the teaching multiple workshops and testing of participant students and a control group, the project will determine whether, and to which extent, the scaffolded work of a prose workshop might be seamlessly and usefully integrated into ESL instruction. 

Because students learn, write, and interact different, Rexroat employs a combination of student-led, instructor-led, and collaborative workshops--each course taking a different based on the needs unique abilities of the students. From lecture and exercise to pure, open discussion of work, the workshops are responsive and student-centered from start to finish.   


As an emerging voice in the Appalachian and Rust Belt writing scenes, Rexroat takes a particular interest in contemporary American regionalism. He has taught literature courses designed specifically for writers as well as courses directed toward a general student population, but all his courses--whether they examine a specific time and region or span the breadth of literary tradition--include diverse voices and perspectives, both in the reading selection and in the commentaries presented on those works.


From burgeoning engineers at a top public research university and finance majors at a regional teaching college to cohorts of incoming international graduate students and the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, Rexroat has helped hundreds of students sharpen their workplace communication skills. One of the hardest but most important courses to teach, there is a clear link between creative work and the the difficult imperative an employee faces: to clearly communicate bold new ideas while maintaining cohesion to existing form.