J.M. Grenier Presents at the Northeast Popular Culture Association 2020 Virtual Conference

By Kristin Hayes on October 14, 2020

James "J.M." Grenier, Bay State College's recently hired instructional designer, will present on October 22 at the Northeast Popular Culture Association 2020 Virtual Conference, sponsored by Southern New Hampshire University. The Northeast Popular Culture Association (NEPCA) prides itself on holding lectures and conferences that "emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment."

James, who publishes both fiction and academic works under "J.M. Grenier," is both an instructional designer and active instructor of English and humanities at several local colleges. James submitted his proposal and was selected to present, "Allons-y! Using Fanfiction to Engage New Writers." His presentation abstract can be viewed below:

Fanfiction is often derided for not being written by "real writers," but this genre can be an effective way of helping students connect with the writing process and each other. In this presentation we will share how this writing exercise is employed in a college-level writing class, share the challenges and benefits of doing so, and discuss how identity-centric concepts such as choice of fandom can help us all feel a bit less alone in a sometimes cold and distant world.

James states, "Students come to college with a variety of backgrounds. Many feel frustrated and discouraged because they have struggled with the writing process for years. They say, 'they can't write,' or 'I'll never be able to do it.' In reality, this is a skill that can be learned. Fanfiction writing exercises let students explore using characters they love in situations they are familiar with. Once they see that they can write something, they grow in confidence and are often inspired to try the more traditional work done in composition courses."

Grenier has presented for global and remote conferences, but this will be his first time presenting during a pandemic, "It's a different challenge and I hope we're able to have some good conversation on these topics, both during the conference and after."

Please read a recent short story that James published, "Love in the time of Social Distancing." His short story was published in The Dead River Review, an online literary magazine created in honor of Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher.