The Rural Inspiration: Putting the Elements of Fiction into Context

Rural Children’s Author Faith Harkey, shares her passion for rural places and small-town stories with our Western Illinois Action Hub.

September 13, 2018 |


Faith Harkey's Presentation to sixth grade students at Central Intermediate School, Monmouth, Illinois. <\/p>"

“My geek [(passion)] + my writing knowledge = story only I can tell” (Faith Harkey). Through her visit to our Western Illinois Action Hub and our partners at Monmouth College (MC), Rural Children’s Author and one of our advocates, Faith Harkey, continues to share her passion for rural places and small-town stories.

Our partners at the Educational Studies Department at Monmouth College (MC) in Western Illinois launched their TARTANS program this year to prepare future rural teachers. On Tuesday 9/11 and Wednesday 9/12, as part of their TARTANS program, the Educational Studies Department at MC in Western Illinois, hosted Faith Harkey, children’s author and a Rural Schools Collaborative Advocate.

Faith’s visit to MC included working with MC students and professors on a fiction workshop, a presentation at MC campus on how her rural experiences influenced and informed her writings, and a presentation to sixth grade students at Central Intermediate School, a school committed to the value of the Place-Based Education.

Faith believes that representation matters. While rural people are often portrayed as uneducated with no meaningful choices in popular books and media, the truth is that they are smart and powerful, and that’s how they should be portrayed. During her visit, Faith assured that everyone has passion and inspiration that influence the stories they tell. For her, the passion and inspiration come from the rural places she has lived in and experienced.

During the workshop and presentations at MC and Central Intermediate School, Faith read to the audiences from her books, showing how she meaningfully implemented her writing knowledge and her rural places and experiences to tell meaningful stories about the rural areas and people.

Faith believes that children need stories and that fiction can be effectively used to “create a story that rings the bell of truth”; when “taken together, the elements of fiction combine to make a sense of veracity” (Faith Harkey).

Click here to read more on Harkey's thoughts about the importance of small-town values and the rural narrative.

Learn more about Faith and her new book at: or, Follow her on Twitter @FaithHarkey . We truly appreciate Faith's support of the Rural Schools Collaborative.

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