Programs / The John Grammer Fellowship



The Sewanee School of Letters, the summers-only master’s degree program in literature and creative writing at the University of the South, announces the establishment of the John Grammer Fellowship. The award, made possible by a gift from the Blake & Bailey Family Fund, will bring a noted writer or scholar to Sewanee for an extended visit each summer during the School’s academic term. 

Maggie Blake Bailey, MFA’17 and co-founder of the fellowship, arranged the donation and hopes that the Fellow each summer will enrich the program’s curriculum by having extended time to visit with students and faculty. The Grammer Fellow will spend several days on campus, interacting with students in a variety of settings and providing insights on issues of literary or critical craft and on careers organized around those.

The inaugural Fellow will be Nashville writer Stephanie Pruitt, whose self-described vocations include poet, social practice artist, “ARTrepreneur,” and “possibilitarian.” Holding an MFA from Vanderbilt University, Pruitt has taught there and at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, and Essence magazine named her one of their 40 Favorite Poets (others included Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove).

But in addition to her literary prowess, Pruitt has a special gift for bringing her art outside the library and the seminar room and into sometimes surprising public spaces. One of her poems is inscribed—as in carved—into a walkway at First Tennessee Park, where the Triple-A Nashville Sounds play baseball; others can be accessed by turning the crank on any of the several poetry-dispensing gumball machines she has placed around Nashville. As founder of the No Starving Artist Academy, Pruitt has committed herself to proving that one can, simultaneously, make art, make a difference, and make a living. Read more about her here:

Stephanie will read in Sewanee on Wednesday, June 21, at 4:30 p.m. in Gailor Hall. The reading is free and open to the public.

About the Sewanee School of Letters

The Sewanee School of Letters is a summers-only master's degree program at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, that offers an MA in English and MFA in Creative Writing.

About the Blake & Bailey Fund

The Fund believes we can impact the world we live in for the better. Rather than create something from scratch and risk simply reinventing the wheel, we are committed to seeking out the talented change-makers already at work in the world around us. With their passion and drive and our support, we can fight for a better world for our children. For all of us. And we do so with an eye to the causes that have given meaning and value to our own lives: education and the arts, veteran affairs, the environment, and the myriad places where those causes intersect.