English invites us to learn how to read with attention and care in order to develop insight into the process of literary creation and the representation of meaning, thus enabling us to join a human conversation that spans centuries.

view a sampling of advent 2021 courses here

Why study English at Sewanee

When you study English here at Sewanee, you’ll be part of a truly storied program. The vibrancy and range of courses will transform you into a closer reader, a more insightful critic, and a superior writer. Explore texts from classical to contemporary, Shakespearean to African American, and all the stories in between.

Under the instruction of faculty and noted visiting writers, you’ll be immersed in the University’s historic and esteemed literary tradition. Sewanee is home to both the Sewanee Review, the country’s oldest continuously published literary quarterly, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a yearly gathering of writers that has included Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners.


Sewanee graduates secure positions in a variety of fields. While some are what you would expect, others are a bit of a surprise. Sewanee prepares you for your profession and your passion. Below is a sampling of recent graduates' first jobs.

  • Legislative correspondent, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
  • Marketing executive assistant, Dow Jones, New York, New York.
  • Writing and editorial assistant (travel section), U.S. News & World Report, Washington, D.C.

Sewanee graduates enjoy extraordinary acceptance rates to top graduate and pre-professional programs–about 95 percent to law school and over 85 percent to medical school. Below is a sampling of where Sewanee grads continue their education.

  • M.A. in English, Georgetown University.
  • M.F.A. in Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design
  • J.D., University of South Carolina Law School.
  • Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, Yale University.
  • J.D., College of William and Mary.

Finding Beauty Among the Wreckage

A memoir from Kelly Grey Carlisle, C’98, tells the story of an abandoned baby, a murdered mother, and an unorthodox childhood in a Los Angeles marina.

The only time Kelly Grey Carlisle remembers meeting the LAPD homicide detective who lifted her three-week-old body from the half-opened dresser drawer of a seedy motel room, she was eight years old, in her Easter dress, with a stack of report cards arranged neatly in her lap. Her grandfather wanted to show the detective that the baby he had carried from the motel room that night had, against all odds, turned into a bright, happy young girl. The detective had investigated the murder of Carlisle’s mother—a murder that, to this date, remains officially unsolved.

Carlisle, C’98, a professor of English and writing at Trinity University in San Antonio, has just published We Are All Shipwrecks, a lively and lyrical memoir documenting her unorthodox childhood and her effort to come to terms with her upbringing. In the shadow of her mother’s tragic murder and her father’s absence, Carlisle was raised by her maternal grandfather, Richard, and his second wife, Marilyn, who together ran a profitable porn shop in Los Angeles. When her mother was killed, Carlisle’s maternal grandmother, Spence, was given custody, but she died of a stroke when Kelly was only four. For much of her childhood and adolescence, Carlisle lived with her grandfather and Marilyn on a boat docked in an L.A. marina.

Read More

Dr. Stephanie Batkie Featured in PUPN Magazine

Batkie sees her classrooms as spaces where students can explore key issues such as race, identity, and politics, using the vehicle of medieval studies to do so. Batkie strives to decolonize her syllabi by focusing mainly on scholarship by women, trans and POC scholars, thereby diversifying the voices that can be seen as having access to the texts by authors like Ovid, Virgil, and Chaucer... Batkie strives to develop in her students “a cultivated diversity of pleasure,” listing myriad ways that readers can take pleasure in texts—pleasure in beauty, form, connection, conversation, discovery, attention, escape, humor, and even of dislike!

Read More

A Sampling of Courses


Programs of Study & Related Programs

Requirements for the Major in English

Requirements for the Minor in Shakespeare Studies | Website

Requirements for the Certificate in Creative Writing | Website

Dr. Bill Engel Creates Joy in the Classroom


"His passionate energy in a classroom is intoxicating, like a talented preacher whose passion can bring together a congregation. While describing his love for teaching, Engel revealed, 'I do have a kind of proselytizing zeal about what I do, because I love it. I want that enthusiasm to be palpable because it’s sincere.'"

Read More

Meet some professors


Matthew irvin
Professor of English 


Gailor Hall 111, Ext. 1865

News & Events