Faculty / Past 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 100 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. 

Ron Briggs

Ron Briggs is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures at Barnard College and teaches undergraduate courses there and graduate seminars at Columbia University. A specialist in the literature and culture of Latin America, he has published essays and reviews in Studies in Travel Writing, Dieciocho, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies and other scholarly journals. His first book, Tropes of Enlightenment in the Age of Bolívar: Simón Rodríguez and the American Essay at Revolution, was published in 2010 by Vanderbilt University Press; he has a second on the evolution of the social novel now under review. A graduate of Sewanee, Briggs earned his MA at Middlebury College and his PhD at New York University.






Ann Jennalie Cook

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

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 two books, Resistance and Reformation in Nineteenth-Century African-American Literature and Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History. His most recent book, Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History, appeared in 2009. 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 Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Delaware. 



Angus Fletcher

Angus Fletcher is one of the most distinguished senior scholars of English and American literature now at work. His best known book may be his classic study Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode, soon to be reissued by Princeton University Press, but he has written on nearly everything: Spenser, Milton, the myth of Dionysus, and American poetry. Reviewing his most recent, Time, Space, and Motion in the Age of Shakespeare, Joan Richardson at bookforum.com praised him as "a magically gifted teacher in whose presence we hear what thinking feels like," adding that his book was "not only a brilliant study of the early modern period but a handbook for our time as well, a meditation on the extended moment when the 'mind . . . discovers the psyche to be an integral part of the world out there.'" A long-time professor at the City University of New York, Fletcher has also served as a visiting professor at Princeton and a Fellow at the Getty museum in Los Angeles.



John Gatta

John Gatta is Professor of English and Dean of the College at the University of the South. His research and extensive writing—including three 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 latest, 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, Dean Gatta has served as Chair of the English Department at the University of Connecticut, where he taught for many years before coming to Sewanee.




John Grammer

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 JournalThe 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

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 Associate Professor of 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.




Adrianne Harun

Adrianne Harun’s first collection of stories, The King of Limbo, was a Sewanee Writers' Series Selection and a Washington State Book Award finalist. Her novel, A Man Came Out of a Door in a Mountain, will be published in February 2014 by Viking/Penguin. Adrianne’s stories have been widely published in such periodicals as Story, Narrative Magazine, The Sun, Colorado Review, the Chicago Tribune (as a Nelson Algren award winner), and the Ontario Review (as a Cooper Prize finalist), and have been listed as Notable in both Best American Mystery Stories and Best American Short Stories. She studied Art History at Sarah Lawrence College and English Literature at Drew University and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College. A longtime resident of Port Townsend on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Adrianne Harun has worked as an editor for many years and currently teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshops, an MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University. Photo: Mary Stafford.



David Huddle

David Huddle holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Hollins College, and Columbia University.  Originally from Ivanhoe, Virginia, he taught for 38 years at the University of Vermont, then served three years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University. He also held the 2012-2013 Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Huddle has continued to teach at the Bread Loaf School of English in Ripton, Vermont, and the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington. Huddle’s work has appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, Appalachian Heritage, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Shenandoah, Agni, Poetry, Story, and The Georgia Review. His novel, The Story of a Million Years (Houghton Mifflin, 1999) was named a Distinguished Book of the Year by Esquire and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. His novel, Nothing Can Make Me Do This, won the 2012 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction and his collection, Black Snake at the Family Reunion, was a finalist for the 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Poetry and won the 2013 Pen New England Award for Poetry.



Andrew Hudgins

Andrew Hudgins published two new books in June of 2013.  A Clown at Midnight is his ninth collection of poems; The Joker is a memoir of his career as an appreciator of, thinker about, and irrepressible teller of jokes. Hudgins’s eight previous books of poetry include Saints and Strangers (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), After the Lost War (winner of the Poets’ Prize), The Never-Ending (finalist for the National Book Award), Shut Up, You’re Fine: Poems for Very, Very Bad Children and American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. He’s also the author of a collection of literary essays, The Glass Anvil, which was published by the University of Michigan Press in 1997. His work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Stanford’s Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and Princeton’s Arthur C. Hodder Fellowship, and honored by prizes from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Educated at Huntingdon College, the University of Alabama, and the University of Iowa, Hudgins is now Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University.



Mariana Johnson

Mariana Johnson is Assistant Professor of Film Studies, and Associate Chair of the Film Studies Department, at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she teaches courses in Latin American Cinema, History of Documentary, Hitchcock, and Film Theory, among other subjects. A former Fulbright Scholar, Johnson was awarded the Grand Marnier Film Fellowship from the Film Society of Lincoln Center and was a visiting scholar at the Instituto Riva-Aguero in Lima, Peru. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Film International, Film Comment, and The Oxford Handbook to Film Studies, among other publications. Mariana Johnson earned her MA and PhD in Cinema Studies at New York University, where she also earned a graduate certificate in ethnographic filmmaking from the Program for Media, Culture and History. She is currently editing the Directory of World Cinema: Cuba (Intellect Press) and working on a project about film preservation in Latin America.



Anne Goodwyn Jones

Recently Whichard Professor at East Carolina University, AGJ has also taught at Allegheny College, the University of Florida, and been visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. A well-known scholar of the literature of the American south, Professor Jones has published articles on William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Harriet Jacobs, and many others, and wrote one of the first and most important books on southern women writers, Tomorrow's Another Day: The Woman Writer and the South, 1859-1936. A former president of the William Faulkner Society, she also co-edited Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts. In 2007 she delivered the Lamar Memorial Lectures in Southern Culture at Mercer University.




Lawrence Lipking

Lawrence Lipking is the Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities at Northwestern University. A general editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, he is also the author of four books, including The Ordering of the Arts in Eighteenth-Century England (1970)Abandoned Women and Poetic TraditionSamuel Johnson: The Life of an Author, and The Life of the Poet: Beginning and Ending Poetic Careers (1981), which won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Christian Gauss Award for the Best Literary Study of 1982. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also won the William Riley Parker Prize, given by the Modern Language Association, for best essay published in PMLA in 1996. At present he is engaged in a study of relations between science and the imagination during the Scientific Revolution.




Charles Martin

Charles Martin is equally accomplished as an original poet and as a student and translator of Latin verse. His works in the former category include Room for Error (1978), Steal the Bacon (1987), and What the Darkness Proposes (1996), and in the latter, both a translation of The Poems of Catullus (1995) and a critical study of that poet. In 2002 his Starting from Sleep: New and Selected Poems (2002) was a finalist for the Lemore Marshall Prize from the American Academy of Poets, and in 2004 his translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses  won that organization's Harold Morton Landon Award for translation. In 2005, the American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him with the coveted Award for Literature. His most recent books are Signs & Wonders, a new collection of poems, and a collaborative translation (with Gavin Flood) of the Bhagavad Gita. Charles Martin received his degrees from Fordham and the SUNY at Buffalo and has taught at the City University of New York and Syracuse University. Photo: Buck Butler.



Christopher M. McDonough

Christopher M. McDonough is Associate Professor of Classical Languages at the University of the South, where he has chaired both the Classics Department and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program.  Before coming to Sewanee in 2002, he taught at Boston College, Princeton University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He co-authored an annotated translation of Serevius' Commentary on Aeneid Book Four, published in 2003. His scholarly articles have appeared in American Journal of Philology, Mnemosyne, Classical Quarterly, and other journals, and his book reviews in The Weekly Standard and The Sewanee Review.  His innovative teaching of the classics has been profiled in The Boston Globe and The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Chris McDonough received his BA from Tufts University and his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can find Chris' musings classical and not-so-classical at http://uncomelyandbroken.wordpress.com/Photo: Mary Stafford.



Karen McElmurray

Karen McElmurray is the author of two published novels (Motel of the Stars and Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven), a forthcoming novel (“Wanting Inez”), and many short stories and personal essays (published in journals like Kenyon Review, Old Dominion Review, Atlanta Magazine, andAlaska Quarterly Review). But she is best known for her stunning 2004 memoir The Surrendered Child, which concerns her experience as a pregnant teen deciding to offer her son for adoption. The book was a Glasgow Prize finalist, an Appalachian Writers Association Award nominee, and a “Notable Book,” so named by the National Book Critics Circle; McElmurray herself was named Georgia Writer of the Year in 2005. Holding degrees from Berea College, the University of Virginia, Hollins College, and the University of Georgia, she has taught at Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and many other institutions, most recently Georgia College, where she is Associate Professor of English.



Erin McGraw

Author of five books of fiction, including the story-collections Lies of the Saints (A New York Times Notable Book for 1996), The Baby Tree, The Good Life, and, most recently, The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard. Erin McGraw teaches creative writing at Ohio State University. Her stories and essays have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, STORY, and elsewhere. Her work has been honored with the Pushcart Prize and fellowships at the McDowell and Yaddo writers' colonies. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford Unviersity and has taught at DePauw University and the University of Cincinnati, where she received the Boyce Award for Excellence in Teaching.






Sam Pickering

A graduate of Sewanee, Sam Pickering did graduate work at Cambridge and Princeton before embarking on a remarkable academic and literary career. Among his twenty books are several works of literary history (e.g., The Moral Tradition in English Fiction, 1785-1850), a couple of travel memoirs (WalkaboutYear, Edinburgh Days), and (at last count) fifteen volumes of the familiar essays for which he is best known. Among these are A Continuing Education, The Right Distance, Still Life, Deprived of Unhappiness, and Indian Summer. He is equally well-known as a teacher who has inspired students at the Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, at Dartmouth College, and—for thirty years—at the University of Connecticut. He has written a book of advice for teachers (Letters to a Teacher) and is widely recognized as the teacher who inspired the 1989 film Dead Poets’ Society.




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. The editor of Renaissance Literature and its Formal Engagements (to which he also contributed an essay), he has also published scholarship in Sixteenth Century Studies,Spenser Studies, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, and other journals. He has presented scholarly papers in venues from Kalamazoo to Cambridge, with stops in Galway, London, and Venice. 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.





Neil Shea

Neil Shea is a veteran journalist whose work—published in such venues as The Providence Journal, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, and The American Scholar—literally spans the globe, often covering military or environmental issues.  Shea has been embedded with US troops in Iraq and interviewed a Taliban commander in Afghanistan; he has explored Mexico’s crystal cave, visited Madagascar’s remote stone forest, and reported on shrinking sea ice in the Arctic sea.  An editor-at-large for the Virginia Quarterly Review and a former staff writer for National Geographic, Shea has been honored with gold and silver Lowell Thomas Awards for stories on Ethiopia and Cuba, and has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the Overseas Press Club Award.  Shea has taught courses in journalism and nonfiction writing at Boston University and at Furman University. You can , where he is posting from a current assignment in Kenya. Photo: Stephen Alvarez.



Elizabeth A. Skomp

Elizabeth A. Skomp is Associate Professor of Russian and Chair of the Department of Russian Studies at the University of the South, where she teaches courses in language, literature, and film. After earning her BA at Indiana University and winning a Marshall Scholarship, she earned a PhD from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College, London. The author of many essays, reviews and translations, she is also the editor of Harmony and Discord: Moving towards a New Europe, published in 2003. She is now at work on a study of motherhood in Russian literature. Prior to coming to Sewanee, Professor Skomp taught at Williams College, DePauw University, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.




Ellen Slezak

Ellen Slezak is the author of a highly praised novel, All These Girls, and the acclaimed short story collection, Last Year's Jesus. She has also published short fiction in the American Literary Review, The Sun, ZYZZYVA, and Crab Orchard Review among other literary journals. She has been honored with fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the MacDowell Colony, and the Centrum Arts Center. She was a finalist in the Iowa Short Fiction Awards and has twice been awarded Illinois Arts Council grants for fiction writing. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she has taught fiction-writing at UCLA and, as a Visiting Tennessee Williams Fellow, at the University of the South.






John Jeremiah Sullivan

John Jeremiah Sullivan, who has worked as an editor at Harper's, The Oxford American, and GQ Magazine,is now a Contributing Writer to the New York Times Magazine and Southern Editor of the Paris Review. His prize-winning first book, Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son, was published in 2004. His journalism and reviews appear regularly in such organs as the New York Times, Harper's, The Oxford American, GQ, and the Paris Review. Many of these pieces are gathered in his new book Pulphead, which has been widely and enthusiastically reviewed and was listed by Time magazine as one of the best books of 2011. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, two National Magazine Awards, and the coveted Whiting Writer's Award, John Sullivan lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters. Photo: Stephen Alvarez