Rebecca Gayle Howell

About Me

Rebecca Gayle Howell is a Senior Lecturer in the Lewis Honors College. Howell is the author of American Purgatory, selected by Don Share for Great Britain’s 2016 Sexton Prize and named a must-read collection by Poetry London, The Millions, and the Courier-Journal. She is also the author of Render / An Apocalypse, which received wide critical acclaim, most notably by David L. Ulin for the Los Angeles Times, who called it “remarkable.” Howell's debut was as the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation, shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and selected by Library Journal as a best book of 2011. Among her other honors are awards from United States Artists, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Southern Foodways Alliance, and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize; from 2017-2019 she served as the James Still Writer-in-Residence at Hindman Settlement School. An alumnus of the University of Kentucky (B.A. English; M.A. Applied Linguistics), Howell also holds the M.F.A. in Poetry and Translation from Drew University and Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech University, where she specialized in literary globalization from a regional context. In addition to serving Lewis Honors College, Howell is the founding editor of Fireside Industries, an imprint of the University Press of Kentucky, and the Poetry Editor for Oxford American. 

Ask Me About... 

  • Writing, Translating, Publishing
  • Place-based Literatures
  • Documentary Storytelling
  • Southern and Appalachian Studies
  • Foodways and other Rural Arts


My work concerns how place, self, and other teach one another in this era of climate change.