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.
Chris Bachelder is the author of the novels U.S.!, Bear v. Shark, and Lessons in Virtual Tour Photography (an e-book available free at www.mcsweeneys. net/bachelder/). His short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of magazines and journals, including Harper's, McSweeney's, The Believer, The Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Mother Jones, The Cincinnati Review, and New Stories from the South. His new 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.'' Bachelder 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: Buck Butler
Ron Briggs is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures at Barnard College and teaches language and literature classes there and at Columbia. A specialist in the literature and culture of Latin America, he has published essays and reviews in Estudios, Caribe, Revista de Humanidades, 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; he’s now at work on another with the working title “Exemplary American Lives: Education and Narrative in the Post-Independence Americas.” Ron Briggs earned his MA at Middlebury College and his PhD at New York University.
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 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 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, 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 B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. 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 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
Andrew Hudgins has published seven books of poetry, including Saints and Strangers (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), After the Lost War (winner of the Poets’ Prize), andThe Never-Ending (finalist for the National Book Award) (1998). His most recent are 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 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.
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.
Holly Goddard Jones’s fiction has appeared in such journals as The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Tinhouse, and The Gettysburg Review and been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories. Her first book, the story collection Girl Trouble, was published by Harper Perennial in 2009, to enthusiastic acclaim from oracles as diverse as Erin McGraw and O magazine. Her debut novel, The Next Time You See Me, was released in 2013. A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Ohio State University, she has taught at Denison University and Murray State University and now serves as Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Among her honors are the Peter Taylor Scholarship at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. To learn more visit www.hollygoddardjones.com.
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 Tradition, Samuel 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.
Pamela Royston Macfie is Professor of English at Sewanee, where she holds the Samuel R. Williamson Distinguished University Chair and teaches courses on Dante, Shakespeare, and Renaissance poetry. She has led the college’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Program and now chairs the English Department. A graduate of Goucher College, she received her MA and PhD degrees from Duke, where she was a Medieval and Renaissance Studies Fellow. Her published scholarship has covered Shakespeare, Spenser, Chapman, Marlowe and other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poets and focuses particularly on Renaissance appropriations of Ovid. These days she is preoccupied with a book-length project entitled “Summoning the Past: Hero and Leander’s Poetry of Allusion.” Her longstanding interest in Dante led her to Dartmouth’s Dante Seminar, where her participation was supported by the National Endowment of Humanities. A local and regional leader of Phi Beta Kappa, Macfie has also served as a Wye Faculty Fellow at the Aspen Institute and as a tutor to British Studies at Oxford, a summer program operated jointly by Sewanee and Rhodes College.
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.
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.
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 is Professor of English and Chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities 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.
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 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, 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
Diane Thiel is the author of eight books of poetry, nonfiction and creative writing pedagogy, including Echolocations (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Prize), Resistance Fantasies, The White Horse: A Colombian Journey, Crossroads: Creative Writing Exercises in Four Genres, and Winding Roads: Exercises in Writing Creative Nonfiction. Her translation of Alexis Stamatis's novel American Fugue received an National Endowment for the Arts International Literature Award. Thiel’s work has appeared in such journals asPoetry, The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, is reprinted in over 50 major anthologies, and has been translated widely. A recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Frost and Robinson Jeffers Awards, and a Fulbright Scholar, she is Professor of English at the University of New Mexico and has served as Writer-in-Residence for the Environmental Institute at Sewanee. To learn more visit: www.dianethiel.net.