About

Ken Szymanski is the 2020-2022 Writer in Residence for Eau Claire, WI. He has been writing about Eau Claire since the 1980s, when he was the editor of his junior high school newspaper. Later in the 1990s, as a freelance music journalist with the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, he covered area music festivals—a dream gig combining live music, writing, and road trips.

In the early 2000s, he turned to spoken word performance, earning two Grand Slam titles in the Eau Claire Running Water Poetry Slam. Around the same time, he started writing for a then-brand-new Volume One Magazine, who made him feel old before his time with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Recently, Szymanski has focused on podcasts (Bend in the River, Oddly Enough, WPR’s Wisconsin Life) and live events combining spoken word and live music. He also is the producer of Snapshots, a video series combining the spoken word, photography, and music of the Eau Claire area. At the end of 2020, Szymanski released a nonfiction collection of stories about Eau Claire called Home Field Advantage.

Szymanski is a 2021 Creative Community Champion Award honoree, presented by Arts Wisconsin.

He lives with his wife and two sons in Eau Claire, where he teaches English at DeLong Middle School.