Readings, Lectures and Events / Upcoming School of Letters Readings and Lectures

Every summer the School of Letters invites writers, poets, publishers and scholars to speak each week that school is in session. All readings and lectures take place at Gailor Auditorium unless otherwise noted, and a reception usually follows upstairs in the atrium. The public is welcome. Events held outside of Sewanee are also listed here.

Click here for a list of past events.


June 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Ed Tarkington

Ed Tarkington is the author of the novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart, published this year by Algonquin.  The book has won remarkable acclaim, particularly for a first novel: it was both an Indie Next pick for the American Booksellers Association and an Indies Introduce pick for IndieBound, and Book of the Month Club made it a Main Selection. A native of Central Virginia, Tarkington is a graduate of Furman University who earned graduate degrees at the University of Virginia and Florida State.  A frequent contributor to, his articles, essays, and stories have appeared in the Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Post Road, the Pittsburgh Quarterly, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches English, and coaches wrestling, at Montgomery Bell Academy.

The reading is free and open to the community. It is sponsored by the School of Letters and the Friends of the Library.

Wednesday, June 8 at 4:30 pm, Gailor Auditorium. Reception and book signing following, Gailor Atrium.







June 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Jennifer Habel

Jennifer Habel is the author of Good Reason, winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition, and In the Little House, winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Believer, Blackbird, Gulf Coast, LIT, The Massachusetts Review, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. In 2014 she won an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and is currently Coordinator of Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati.

This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 15 at 4:30 pm, Gailor Auditorium. Reception and book signing following, Gailor Atrium.







June 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm

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 serialized in The Paris Review. The book follows 22 men who meet each year to reenact the 1985 Joe Theisman football injury. Bachelder was awarded the prestigious Terry Southern prize this year. 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.

Wednesday, June 22 at 4:30 pm, Gailor Auditorium. Book signing following, Gailor Atrium.




June 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm

What Was the New Journalism? A Dialogue with John Grammer and Neil Shea

Marshall Frady called it an “odd unchurched coupling between the novel and journalism.” Tom Wolfe gave it the name that stuck, “the New Journalism,” a designation John Sullivan glosses like this: “the long, weird, quasi-essayistic, documentary-infused magazine piece, a form older than the novel, despite a heritable instinct in critics to continually be calling it New.” New or old, the form experienced a remarkable flowering in the 1960’s and early ‘70’s, when writers like Frady and Wolfe—and Mailer and Talese and King and Morris--created a remarkable moment in American letters, one that continues to inspire writers like Sullivan. John Grammer and Neil Shea discuss the moment and its influence on nonfiction writing today.

Wednesday, June 29 at 4:30 pm, Gailor Auditorium. Reception following, Gailor Atrium.



July 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Jennine Capo Crucet

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of two books, most recently the novel Make Your Home Among Strangers (St. Martin's Press). Her story collection, How to Leave Hialeah, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the John Gardner Book Prize, and was named a Best Book of the Year by The Miami Herald, the Miami New Times, and the Latinidad List. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Ploughshares, Epoch, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, and other magazines.  She's the fiction editor of PEN Center USA’s Handbook for Writers, a comprehensive writing manual used in high schools nationally as part of PEN’s Writers in the Schools programs. A former sketch comedienne and National Public Radio scriptwriter, she’s worked extensively as a writing coach and college advisor for high school students and also led the Young Artists’ Workshop (exclusively for high school writers) at the Port Townsend Writers' Conference for three years. A winner of an O. Henry Prize and a Bread Loaf Fellow, she received her B.A. from Cornell University and her M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota, where she was also an instructor. She grew up in Miami but now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska. To learn more about Crucet, visit her web site at

Wednesday, July 6, at 4:30 pm, Gailor Auditorium. Reception and book signing following, Gailor Atrium.




July 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

MFA Candidate Reading

MFA Candidate Reading, Wednesday, July 13, at 4:30 PM, Gailor Auditorium. Student Farewell Dinner follows.