Faculty / Current Faculty


OUR FACULTY have included Pulitzer and National Book Award finalists, an editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, a winner of three National Magazine Awards, and the only American named a Life Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Some live right here in Sewanee; others visit us from as far away as the University of Zurich, as well as Vanderbilt, Boston University, CUNY, The University of Cincinnati, Syracuse, and other campuses, bringing with them lifetimes worth of experience as writers, scholars, and teachers. They teach classes on Faulkner, Dante, and Shakespeare; on African American Literature, Modern Poetry and the Environment, Southern Literature, and the Bible. They teach Latin American and Russian Literature in translation. To make sure our students get the most out of these classroom encounters, we keep our numbers low; around 12 people in a class or workshop, with about 80 in the program as a whole. 

The makeup of faculty changes a bit each summer, with our veterans rotating in and out and some new faces appearing every June. It's our way of providing, within the scope of a small program, something of the breadth and depth of a large one. Over the course of their studies our students will get to know many distinguished teachers and hear many voices. 

2019 Faculty

Chris Bachelder

Chris Bachelder is the author of the novels The Throwback Special, Abbott Awaits, U.S.!, Bear v. Shark, and Lessons in Virtual Tour Photography. His short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of magazines and journals, including The Paris Review, Harper's, McSweeney's, The Believer, The Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Mother Jones, The Cincinnati Review, and New Stories from the South. His novel Abbott Awaits was published in 2011, to strong reviews: “Not since John Cheever,” said novelist Brock Clark, “has an American male fiction writer written so ingeniously, so beautifully, so heartbreakingly about the pain and sweetness of domestic life.'' His acclaimed new novel, The Throwback Special, was a finalist for the National Book Award. The book follows 22 men who meet each year to reenact the 1985 Joe Theismann football injury. Bachelder was awarded the prestigious Terry Southern Prize in 2016. He received an MFA in fiction from the University of Florida and taught at New Mexico State, Colorado College, and the University of Massachusetts before joining the Creative Writing faculty of the University of Cincinnati in 2011.  Photo: Camille Stallings.




Tiana Clark

Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. She is the winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, as well as the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Best New Poets 2015, Lenny Letter, and elsewhere. She was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Clark is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Most recently, she was awarded a 2019 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.



Lee Conell

Lee Conell is the author of the story collection Subcortical, which was awarded The Story Prize Spotlight Award, an Independent Publisher Book Award, and an American Fiction Award. Her short fiction appears in the Oxford American, the Chicago Tribune, Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Sewanee Review, Memorious, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. She has received creative writing fellowships from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vanderbilt University, and the Yiddish Book Center. Her stories have been awarded the grand prize in the Chicago Tribune‘s Nelson Algren Literary Arts contest and cited in Best American Short Stories. Formerly the nonfiction editor for Nashville Review, Lee Conell regularly contributes reviews and interviews to Chapter 16, while her personal essays have appeared in The Millions, Electric Literature, and The New York Times. She has taught writing at Vanderbilt University, SUNY New Paltz, the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, and the Nashville Public Library.



Kathryn S. Freeman

Kathryn Freeman is a scholar of British Romanticism, Orientalism, Blake studies, and women’s literature. Her books include Blake’s Nostos: Fragmentation and Nondualism in The Four Zoas (SUNY 1997) and Women Writers and the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1785-1835: Re-Orienting Anglo-India (Ashgate 2014). She has published articles on Sydney Owenson’s The Missionary; Phebe Gibbes’ Hartly House, Calcutta; and the translations of Williams Jones and Charles Wilkins. Her Guide to William Blake is a companion to Blake’s cosmology and historical context (Routledge 2017). Her current book project examines the literary relationship among Mary Robinson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Mary Shelley through the lens of androgyny, subjectivity, and the re-creative. She is also working on an edition of Phebe Gibbes’s 1786 novel, Zoriada, or Village Annals. Freeman received her PhD from Yale in 1990. She taught at Sewanee before moving to the University of Miami, where she is now Professor of English.




John Gatta

John Gatta is William B. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of the South. His research and extensive writing—including five books and more than fifty articles—mainly concerns American Literature from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, with a special emphasis on the intersections of literature, religion, and the environment. His first book, a critical study of the New England poet Edward Taylor, won the 1989 Academic Book-of-the-Year Award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and his second, American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture, was named an “outstanding academic book” for 1998 by editors of Choice. His third critical volume, like his second and fifth also from Oxford University Press, is Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present.  A graduate of Notre Dame, with a PhD from Cornell, Gatta has served as Chair of the English Department at the University of Connecticut, where he taught for many years before coming to Sewanee. He is currently Interim Director of the School of Letters, and he has previously served as Dean of the College.



James Ross Macdonald

A member of the Sewanee English department since 2013, Ross studies and teaches sixteenth and seventeenth-century British writers, especially Milton, Jonson, and Spenser. His essays and reviews have appeared in Studies in Philology, Spenser Studies, Christianity and Literature, and most recently in Forms of Faith: Literary Form and Religious Conflict in Early Modern England (Manchester University Press, 2017). Ross was educated at Harvard and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. He also taught high school and at Connecticut College before coming to the University of the South. Photo: Buck Butler






Mark Rasmussen

Mark Rasmussen is Charles J. Luellen Professor of English at Centre College, where he has been teaching courses on Medieval and Renaissance literature since 1989. His recent publications include “Shakespeare and the Critics: Rhetoric, Form, Aesthetics,” in The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare (2016), as well as a critical introduction, “Jill Mann’s Patience,” to Life in Words (2014), the collected essays of the distinguished medievalist Jill Mann, a volume that he edited. Rasmussen’s other edited collection, Renaissance Literature and Its Formal Engagements (2002), has had a lasting impact within its field, renewing attention to questions of form in English Renaissance literature.  A graduate of Harvard, Rasmussen received his PhD at Johns Hopkins, where he also taught before taking up his post at Centre. There he has received the Kirk Award for Teaching Excellence among many other honors. At the School of Letters he has offered courses on Chaucer, on the Arthurian legend, and on literary criticism and theory. photo © Mary Stafford





Allen Reddick

Allen Reddick is the author of The Making of Johnson’s Dictionary, 1746-1773 (1996) and the editor of Johnson's Unpublished Revisions of his Dictionary: A Facsimile Edition with Commentary and Analysis (2005), both published by Cambridge University Press, as well as articles concerning English literature from the 17th  through the 18th century. A graduate of Sewanee, he earned his MA from Cambridge, his PhD from Columbia, and began his teaching career in 1985 at Harvard, where he served as Assistant, then Associate, Professor of English. In 1993 he took up his current post as professor of English literature at the University of Zurich.

His scholarly work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the British Academy, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the American Society for 18th-Century Studies, among others. He is currently tracing the vast book distribution activities of the 18th-century radical, Thomas Hollis. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London for his work on the library of Carl Linnaeus. Photo: Mary Stafford.




Meera Subramanian

Meera Subramanian is an award-winning independent journalist whose work has been published in national and international publications including the New York Times the NewYorker.comNature, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Orion, where she serves as a contributing editor. Her book A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka, published by PublicAffairs in 2015, was short-listed for the 2016 Orion Book Award. Through her work, she has explored the disappearance of India’s vultures, questioned the “Good Anthropocene,” sought out fragile shorelines, and investigated perceptions of climate change among conservative Americans. Her essays have been anthologized in Best American Science and Nature Writing, as well as multiple editions of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. She was an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow (2016-17) and Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow (2013-14) and earned an MA in Journalism from New York University. She taught Nonfiction at the School of Letters in 2017. Based in Cape Cod, you can find her at www.meerasub.org and @meeratweets.




Elyzabeth Wilder

Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s plays include Gee's Bend, Fresh Kills, The Flagmaker of Market Street, The Furniture of Home, White Lightning, and Provenance.  Her plays have been produced at the Royal Court (London), Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, Cleveland Play House, KC Rep, Northlight, the Arden, B Street Theatre, and Hartford Stage, among others.  Most recently her play, Everything That’s Beautiful, premiered at the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and her one act, “Santa Doesn’t Come to the Holiday Inn”was featured in the Marathon of One Act Plays at the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Commissions and workshops include A Requiem for August Moon (Pioneer Theatre), The Bone Orchard (Denver Center, Great Plains Theatre Conference), and a short play for the acclaimed My America, Too project (Baltimore Center Stage), as well as four commissions from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  She is currently completing a new play, co-commissioned by the Sloan Foundation and the Geva Theatre, that explores racial bias and the development of color photography. Her play, The Light of the World, will be featured in the Southern Writers’ Festival at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in October. Most recently, Elyzabeth traveled with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on 10 day speaking and listening tour which explored the “State of the South” and the changing face of Southern identity. Elyzabeth is the recipient of the Osborn Award given by the American Theatre Critics Association and is a graduate of the dramatic writing program at New York University.