The English Department has numerous events, talks, and workshops throughout the year, for students, alumni, and community members.

The English Department, in collaboration with The Sewanee Review, the Mountain Goat Literary Journalthe Sewanee Literary Society, and the Sewanee Writing House, are pleased to offer lots to do in Sewanee, and remotely! 

Please check at our event calendar and subscribe (Google calendar: 

Dr. Tucker Publishes a Book: "Unexpected Pleasures"

In February, Clemson University Press will publish Dr. Lauryl Tucker's book, Unexpected Pleasures: Parody, Queerness, and Genre in 20th-Century British Fiction. The book dives into Dr. Tucker's interests in humor, especially the humor that queers conventions both social and literary. You can find the book here, and Dr. Tucker will discuss it at a Dean's Faculty Research Presentation on January 27, from 12:30-1:30 at McGriff Alumni Hall. 

Novelist Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi Reading and Reception

On February 8 at 4:30 in Gailor Auditorium, PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novelist Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi will read from her work. The reading will be followed by a reception and book-signing.

Dr. Mangrum publishes on the ecologies of data visualization

Dr. Ben Mangrum's article, "The Ecologies of Data Visualization" will be published in diacritics, issue 48.4. Founded in 1971, diacritics is a major journal focusing on critical theory, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. This article represents work by Dr. Mangrum bringing the techniques of the environmental humanities to bear on what might seem one of the least humanistic enterprises: the visualization of data in our information culture. You can find the issue here. 

Radney Foster: "The Business of Creativity"

Mr. Radney Foster, C’82, Nashville singer, songwriter, author, and actor (and Sewanee English major) will be the Babson Center’s 2022 Humphreys Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Navigating the fluid nature of the music industry, Mr. Foster will share insights of his journey from West Texas to Sewanee to the Music City and will offer wisdom to his success. 

Nikki Giovanni Reads in Convocation

Celebrated poet and honorary degree recipient Nikki Giovanni will give a reading from her writings at 4 PM in Convocation Hall, January 13; she will receive her honorary degree the next day during Winter Convocation. 

The Mountain Goat's Reading Series Continues February 1

The Mountain Goat is back from break! You can submit online here - and come to their reading every first Tuesday of the month, this month at 6 PM, at the Social Lodge!

Yea! Sewanee Reads

The English Department and the University Bookstore are joining forces to feature our favorite titles, just in time for holiday shopping! Come to the opening, November 4, from 5-7 PM, and get discounts on books and the Blue Chair Tavern!

What Do You Do With an English Degree?

If you've ever wondered (or been asked) what you can do with an English degree (besides being a teacher or a writer), we have answers for you from alumna and English major Caroline Morton Huffman (C'86), who has had a long career in business and is looking forward to helping answer your questions. Come chat at 7 PM, Wednesday, Nov 3 at the Social Lodge. This event is sponsored by the English Department and the Babson Center. 

Film: The Green Knight

Come watch David Lowery's stunning new film from A24 (starring Dev Patel) and hear about how it adapts the late 14th century poem, Gawain and the Green Knight.

Haines Lecture: Novelist Alice McDermott

On October 26th at 4:30 PM in Convocation Hall, Alice McDermott will give the 28th Haines Lecture, including reading from new fiction. McDermott is the author of eight novels, and won the National Book Award for Charming Billy. Sewanee's masking and social distancing policies will be in effect. (Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

Conversations in Literature: The Cast of Hamlet

Members of Jim Crawford's Hamlet cast will reflect on what acting in the play tells them about its characters, October 25 at 5 PM in Gailor 130. Professor Crawford will be present too to talk about directing this most famous of plays; conversation will be informal and fueled by savory biscuits. This is the first of a continuing series of Conversations in Literature. 

Kevin Wilson's Fiction Wins Big Awards

Professor Kevin Wilson's most recent novel, Nothing to See Here, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of their Big Read program, where they select 15 books for the year and offer grants to communities to discuss the book that they choose.  His short story, "Biology" was selected by Jesmyn Ward for this year's Best American Short Stories. 

Southern Festival of Books Features Destiny Birdsong

The annual Southern Festival of Books will be all online October 9 and 10, and will feature a conversation with Dr. Destiny Birdsong, who teaches poetry at Sewanee. Many other authors are involved in conversations that can be seen on YouTube Live!

Aiken Taylor Award, Lecture and Reading, October 12-13

Poet and critic Phillip B. Williams will lecture on the work of Vievee Francis, the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, on October 12th; Francis will receive her award and read from her work on Wednesday, October 13th.

Publishing Roundtable in Gailor Auditorium

Are you interested in publishing your work, or working in publishing? Wondering how publishing works in different ways for fiction, poetry, translations, or academic texts? Come to a roundtable on October 22 at 4 PM at the Writing House, featuring William Engel of the English Department, Stephanie McCarter of the Classics Department, Matthew Mitchell of the History Department, Gwen Kirby of the Sewanee Writers Conference, and Eric Smith of The Sewanee Review. This event is organized by the Writing House!

Author and Musician Jonathan Meiburg (C' 97) in Conversation on Zoom

Jonathan Meiburg, a 1997 graduate of the University of the South and the lead singer of the band Shearwater, discusses his new book, which traces the social and ecological history of the caracaras, a South American bird of prey. 

Gwen Kirby's Debut Collection Published by Penguin Books

Gwen Kirby's book of short stories, Shit Cassandra Saw, will be coming out from Penguin Books in January, 2022. Gwen has been working at the Sewanee Writers' Conference since 2014, where she is now Associate Director of Programs and Finance. She has been teaching fiction courses at Sewanee since 2020

When Psychology Meets Poetry: A Conversation with John Spaulding

John Spaulding gave a poetry reading and writing workshop over Zoom on April 28.  The poet and psychologist was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Vermont. He earned degrees in English and psychology and earned a PhD in psychology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has worked as a psychologist for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and the Puget Sound Service Unit of Indian Health Services. He teaches writing at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.
Spaulding is the author of The Roses of Starvation (1987); Walking in Stone (1989), in which he imagines the lives of the colonists and Native Americans; The White Train (2004), chosen by Henry Taylor for the National Poetry Series; and Hospital (2011). His collections delve into history, myth, and the American landscape, often accessing a variety of voices. Susan Donnelly noted that his work “brings images from history’s shadows into deceptive clarity, only to halt us with their mystery, omen, threat, and surprise.”

Japanese Breakfast in Concert

We are very pleased to present Michelle Zauner (aka Japanese Breakfast) in concert and conversation Sunday, April 25 at 4:30 PM. Recording as Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner has released two critically-acclaimed albums, Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet; her third album, Jubilee, will be released June 4, 2021. She is also the author of Crying in H-Mart, a memoir that develops her essay of the same name in the New Yorker. You can read more about the memoir here. This concert is presented by The Mountain Goat Literary Journal, the Writing House, the Asian Languages and Culture House, the Wick, Campus Activities, the Sewanee Review/Dakin Fund, and the Departments of English and Music.

Claire Crow Accepted at Yale

Out of over 550 applicants, English major, Claire Crow, was offered (and accepted) one of 3 positions in the Ph.D. Program in English at Yale to continue her work on depictions of race in medieval romance. She was also accepted with full funding into the Ph.D. program in Medieval Studies at Cornell and into the English Ph.D. programs at Indiana University, The Ohio State University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Fordham University. In addition, she was offered positions in the M.A. program in English at NYU and at the University of Birminhgam (UK), the M.A. program in Comparative Literature at Dartmouth, and the M.A. program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Two English Majors Awarded the Watson Fellowship

Bramwell Atkins and Mandy Tu have been awarded the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the United States.  Bramwell's study, How Can We Sing?: Music and Displacement will take him to Russia, Ukraine, Laos, Vietnam, Greece, and Germany to study how music helps displaced people to cope. Through her study, Voices in Verse: Perspectives on Postcolonial Women Writing, Mandy will travel to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the U.K. to learn about women writing in the shadow of the British Empire.

Una Mannion, C’87, Releases Debut Novel with Faber & Faber

This week Sewanee graduate and author Una Mannion, C’87, signed a major publishing deal with Faber & Faber.

Dr. Graber's Historical Pandemic Article Published

Darin Graber, Visiting Assistant Professor in English, recently published "The Wild Boys of London's Sickening Circulation." a piece forthcoming in a pandemic-related "cluster" of articles in Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment (Vol. 27 no. 4 issue), as it relates childhood homelessness and sewage mishandling to the mid-century cholera outbreaks in Victorian London. 


Professor of English Bill Engel publishes on the use of Shakespeare by Karl Marx in A Journal for Critical Debate.

English Graduates Found a Literary Journal

Recent Sewanee graduates and English Majors Sydney Leibfritz C'20, Briana Wheeler C'20 and Carlos Zayas-Pons C'20 have founded a new literary journal entitled Ample Remains. 

Othello Performance

The American Shakespeare Company will perform Othello live-streamed outdoors to an audience seated in the main quad (or in Guerry if it is rainy).  Following Othello, the company's actors will engage questions of race and performance; issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the ASC; and the performance of Othello as a call to racial justice.

"Twelfth Night" Performance

On October 16, The American Shakespeare Company will treat us to a live-stream performance of Twelfth Night beginning with live (streamed) music at 6:30, followed by a 7:00 performance at the Blackfriars Theatre in Staunton.  The live stream will be followed by talk-backs with the actors, who will engage what it is to play Shakespeare in a time of pandemic.

Dr. Macdonald's Milton Article Published

Dr. James Ross Macdonald's article, "Milton's Tutelary Angels" appears in Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 vol 60, no. 1 (2020), pp. 113–132.  It explores Milton’s representations of the tutelary angel. While patristic tradition envisaged separate angels watching over each believer, John Calvin instead conceived them as a ubiquitous army, any of whom might be called upon to execute God’s will. As poet and theologian, Milton introduces Raphael and Michael as guardians with distinct identities at the same time that he declines to assign Adam’s or Eve’s care to any single angel. This pluralized vision of heavenly protection creates an affective theodicy, furnishing a social world about Eden that nevertheless skirts the characteristic Satanic error of interposing hierarchies between God and his creatures.

Sewanee Professors' Summer Reading Group Featured in "The Paris Review"

During the summer quarantine, medievalists, Dr. Batkie and Dr. Irvin, conducted a virtual reading group to analyze William Langland's Piers Plowman.   Carlos Zayas-Pons describes the experience in The Paris Review.

Engel publishes on Melville's "Bartleby"

Professor Engel has contributed to the critical volume The Birth and Death of the Author: a Multi-authored History of Authorship in Print (Routledge, 2020). 

Knight School - A Medieval Podcast by Claire Crow C'21

A new Sewanee student run podcast bringing you weekly doses of the medieval world with guest appearances from experts and scholars.

Prof. Jennifer Michael Wins 10th Annual Frost Farm Prize

The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets today announced that the winner of the 10th Annual Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry is Jennifer Davis Michael, for her poem, "Forty Trochees."

Our Majors at Oxford

English majors Bramwell Atkins and Claire Crow enjoy a visit to the Cotswolds while studying at Oxford this Spring 2020 semester.

Claire Crow (C'21) Wins Dissertation Prize at Oxford

Sewanee English major Claire Crow (C'21) recently won the Proxime Accessit prize for her dissertation on women in the literature of the Middle Ages while studying abroad at Oxford University this spring.

Prof. Engel featured on NPR's "Academic Minute"

The English department's own Bill Engel will be featured on NPR's "Academic Minute"

Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder Play Reading

Professional actors will read from Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s play, Looks Like Pretty, on Sunday, Feb. 23rd, at 4 P.M. in the Tennessee Williams Center.

Prof. Engel - An Essay Collection and NPR's "Academic Minute"

Professor Engel just signed a contract with Cambridge University Press for a collection of essays on Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England. He also will appear on a new NPR show called "The Academic Minute".

A Post-Baccalaureate Job Opportunity with the School of Letters

The School of Letters is pleased to announce a Post-Baccalaureate Tennessee Williams Fellow position for a Sewanee graduate, thanks to generous funding from the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund.

The American Shakespeare Center Comes to Sewanee

The American Shakespeare Center’s 2020 National Tour comes the University of the South from February 6-February 8, 2020.

Prof. Engel Presents at Shakespeare Conference in Paris

On January 10, 2020, Professor Engel represented Sewanee at the Société Française Shakespeare in Paris, with a paper on “The Tug of Memory: Shakespearean Backstories.”


Bramwell Atkins, a current junior double majoring in English and Classics, has been awarded a Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs Study Abroad Research Grant to support his independent research while abroad in Oxford, England next year.

George Eliot: A Bicentennial Celebration

On November 22, 2019, Sewanee’s English department celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Victorian author George Eliot.