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.
Barbara Black is the author of two classic studies of Victorian literature and culture: On Exhibit: Victorians and Their Museums and A Room of His Own: A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland. When the former appeared in 2000, critic Joseph Childers praised it for “[beginning] in very important ways to unravel the representation of culture to itself.” The latter, nominated as Best Book of 2013 by the North American Victorian Studies Association, was lauded as “an absorbing and enlightening study” by the Times Literary Supplement and as a “beautifully conceived, thoroughly researched, and deftly argued book” by scholar Karen Chase Levenson. Black’s essays and reviews—on Dickens, Wilde, Gissing, FitzGerald, among others—have appeared in Salmagundi, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Victorian Poetry, and Dickens Studies Annual, among other journals, as well as in the book Dickens and Gender (2012). Barbara Black earned the BA at Bryn Mawr College and the PhD at the University of Virginia. She currently serves as Professor of English at Skidmore College, where she was recently honored with the Ralph A. Ciancio Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Poet Nickole Brown’s books include her debut, Sister (2007), which was a novel-in-poems, and the recent Fanny Says (2015), a tribute—alternately touching and hilarious--to her outspoken, tender-hearted, and unforgettable grandmother. You can listen here http://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/211-fuck to Nickole reading a Fanny poem. A graduate of Vermont College of the Fine Arts, she studied literature at Oxford University as an English Speaking Union Scholar. She has taught creative writing at the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and at the low-residency M.F.A. at Murray State, as well as at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. In a previous life she spent ten years as Director of Marketing and Development at Sarabande Books, a leading Indie press; before that, she was personal assistant to the famed Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, her fellow Kentuckian. These days Nickole lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Jessica Jacobs. She is at work on a new book, “Down the Center Line of Spine.”
Ann Jennalie Cook is the author of The Privileged Playgoers of Shakespeare’s London, 1576-1642, and Making a Match: Courtship in Shakespeare and His Society, both published by Princeton University Press. She has served as an officer of the International Shakespeare Association, on the Board of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and—from 1975 until 1987—as Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America. Her work has been supported by fellowships from both the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations. Recently she was named a Life Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the only American to hold this honor. She taught for more than twenty years at Vanderbilt University. Photo: Mary Stafford.
John Ernest has been identified as our most knowledgeable scholar of 19th-century African American literature, a judgment confirmed by the essays he has published in PMLA, American Literary History, and American Literature, among other journals, by the modern editions he has published of classic texts by William Wells Brown and William and Ellen Craft, and particularly by his books Resistance and Reformation in Nineteenth-Century African-American Literature and Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History. His most recent books are Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History and A Nation Within a Nation: Organizing African American Communities before the Civil War. He is the editor of Douglass in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates and The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative. John Ernest holds a PhD from the University of Virginia and taught at Florida International University, the University of New Hampshire, and West Virginia University, before taking up his current post as Judge Hugh M. Morris Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Delaware. photo Mary Stafford
John Grammer, Professor of English at the University of the South, teaches classes in British and American Literature, American Studies, and Sewanee’s interdisciplinary Humanities Program. He received his BA at Vanderbilt University and his PhD at the University of Virginia. His 1996 book Pastoral and Politics in the Old South won the C. Hugh Holman Award as the best book of the year in Southern literary study. His essays and reviews have appeared in American Literary History, The Oxford American, The Southern Literary Journal, The Sewanee Review and other journals, and in such books as The Dictionary of Literary Biography,The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and Blackwell’s Guide to the Literature and Culture of the American South. Photo: Mary Stafford
Michael Griffith's books are Trophy, Bibliophilia: A Novella and Stories and Spikes: A Novel; his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in New England Review, Salmagundi, Oxford American, Southwest Review, Five Points, Virginia Quarterly Review, Golf World, and The Washington Post, among other periodicals. His work has been honored by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Humanities Center, the Taft Foundation, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Michael Griffith was educated at Princeton and Louisiana State University. Formerly Associate Editor of the Southern Review, he is now Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English at the University of Cincinnati and Fiction Editor of the Cincinnati Review. He is also the Editor of Yellow Shoe Fiction, an original-fiction series from LSU Press. Photo: Mary Stafford.
Playwright Arlene Hutton is best known as the author of The Nibroc Trilogy, which includes Last Train to Nibroc (New York Drama League Best Play nomination), See Rock City (In the Spirit of America Award) and Gulf View Drive (LA Weekly and Ovation Award nominations). Other works include Running, Letters to Sala, The Three Sisters Brontë, As It Is In Heaven. Her one-act play I Dream Before I Take the Stand, a timely courtroom drama about sexual assault, has been revived recently on stages from California to London. Other recent productions were staged at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, B Street Theatre, Kitchen Theatre, Echo Theatre, Playhouse on Park, Florida Studio Theatre, Riverside and Chester Theatre, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. An alumna of New Dramatists and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and Dramatists Guild, Hutton has seen her work honored with the Macy’s New Play Prize, the Lippman Award, and the Calloway Award, along with residencies at the Australian National Playwrights Conference, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She has taught playwriting at Fordham University, The College of Charleston, and (as Tennessee Williams Fellow) at the University of the South.
Jennifer Lewin is a remarkably versatile young scholar whose interests range from the Bible to Modern Poetry. Her essays and reviews, on topics as diverse as Spenser, Milton, Shakespeare, Eighteenth-Century poetry and Twentieth-Century New Criticism, have appeared in Modern Philology, Shakespeare Studies, the Boston Review, Blackwell's Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English, and Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same, a collection of essays in honor of John Hollander which she also edited. A short essay is appears in a special online issue of Spenser Review dedicated to John Hollander (1939-2013), called "Explaining John, or, Digression is the Better Form of Valor." She has articles forthcoming in the Shakespeare Encyclopedia, and her poetry has appeared in Raritan. Lewin has been selected as a judge for the 2014 Southern Literary Festival. Educated at Brandeis and Yale, Jenn Lewin has taught at both those institutions, the University of Kentucky, Boston University, and Sewanee, before taking up her current post in the English Department at the University of Haifa in Israel. Photo: Mary Stafford.
Jamie Quatro is best known as the author of the short-story collection I Want to Show You More. The book won remarkable acclaim: it was a New York Times Notable Book, an NPR Best Book of 2013, an Indie Next pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The critic James Wood, notoriously hard to please, named it a Favorite Book of the Year in The New Yorker and said this about it: “Passionate, sensuous, savagely intense, and remarkable, [Quatro’s work] moves between carnality and spirit like some . . . modernized Flannery O’Connor.” Jamie Quatro has also published critical essays and reviews—about Flannery O’Connor, Barry Hannah, Amy Hempel, and Dennis Johnson, among others—in Oxford American, Tin House, and New York Times Book Review. She guest-edited, and introduced, Oxford American’s recent Fiction Issue. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she earned an MA in English at William and Mary and had begun a PhD at Princeton before turning her attention to fiction. Her MFA was earned at Bennington College. Her debut novel, Fire Sermon, is forthcoming in early 2018 from Grove Press (US), Picador (UK), and Atlas Contact (Netherlands).
Meera Subramanian is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has been published in Nature, The New York Times, The NewYorker.com, Virginia Quarterly Review, Orion, and other national and international publications. Her narrative nonfiction book, A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka (PublicAffairs, 2015), explored the human and global health implications of India’s ravaged environmental landscape. Publishers Weekly called it “exemplary” in a starred review, while Kirkus described it as “investigative journalism as story: fact-filled but optimistic, rueful and inviting” as well as “right thinking and accusatory in all the right places.” It was short-listed for the Orion Book Award. She was a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow (2013-14) at New York University, where she earned an MA in Journalism. This year she is spending her time in Cambridge, MA, where she holds a prestigious Knight Science Journalism fellowship at MIT, but you can usually find her, physically, in Cape Cod, and virtually at www.meerasub.org and @meeratweets.