Penn Stewart

Penn Stewart is an award-winning writer and the author of the novel Fertile Ground and the short story collection The Water in Our Veins. His short stories, essays, reviews, and photography have been published in journals such as Iron Horse Review, Waccamaw, Prairie Schooner, Hippocampus Magazine, Word Riot, and elsewhere.

Penn Stewart is also the pen name for Dr. John Schulze, Associate Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Midwestern State University. John has also taught creative writing at several other places, including Western Illinois University and in community arts centers, like the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmoth, Illinois, and the Hemingway-Pfieffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas.

John earned his first degree from the University of New Orleans, his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Memphis, and his PhD in English from the University of Nebraska--Lincoln. He currently resides in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he lives with his beautiful wife Rajean, their two daughters, and a fluffy dog named Anna.

Fertile Ground

From Wandering Aengus Press, Fertile Ground is a novel that brings to light a dark chapter of American history. During the cold spring of 1942 in upstate New York, US government officials steal away German-born farmer Hans Müller in the middle of the night, leaving his wife and two sons alone and without explanation. Does Hans’ odd obsession with his shortwave radio and foreign newspapers mean his quaint American life has been a lie? Or has the government made a horrible mistake that threatens to undo their family?

"Fertile Ground brings the past alive with nuance."

Jonis Agee,The River Wife

"A riveting mystery."

Timothy Schaffert, The Perfume Thief

The Water in Our Veins

Released from Big Wonderful Press,The Water in Our Veins is Penn Stewart's first collection of short stories. Combining flash fiction and traditional length stories, this group of tales range from the tragic to the absurd. Each one lands in the reader’s soul as Stewart explores humanity.

"In prose as tight as lyrics, Penn Stewart observes with penetrating acuity the numerous ways we mess up as the earth shifts ."

Sandra Scofield, Swim: Stories of the Sixties, The Last Draft

"Stewart pursues every path to plumb the depths of his character's inner lives. These dazzling stories break but mend your heart even stronger."

Devin Murphy, The Boat Runner, Tiny Americans

Web Work

Online Fiction

"Rabbit Run"

Waccamaw: A Journal of Contemporary Literature


Iron Horse Literary Review

"The Weight on my Back"

Pacifica Literary Review

"No Safe Harbor"

Literary Orphans


Front Porch Review


Two Hawks Quarterly

Online Creative Nonfiction

"The Reluctant Organ Donor"

Connotation Press: An Online Artifact

"Good Intentions"

Hippocampus Magazine


Connotation Press: An Online Artifact

"The Little Tycoon"

Fresh Yarn


"Chimney Rock"

The Meadowland Review, Winter 2013


Recent and Upcoming Events Contact Penn.

March 30, 2023

College English Association Annual Conference

San Antonio, TX,

1:30pm–2:45 PM

March 2, 2023

26th Annual Elmer Kelton Writers Conference

Angelo State University

2:00-2:45 PM

November 3, 2022

ASAT- American Studies Association of Texas

Colin County Community College

2:45-4:00 PM

September 16, 2022

TACWT- Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers Annual Conference Texas Christian University

9:00–10:00 AM