Sewanee Writers’ Conference Begins 30th Year


Twelve days of readings and lectures open with fiction writer Tim O’Brien

Celebrating its 30th summer session, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference will run from Tuesday, July 16, through Saturday, July 27, and feature readings, panels, and lectures by nationally recognized faculty, editors, publishers, and literary agents. We will also celebrate Wyatt Prunty’s 30 years of leadership and welcome Leah Stewart as the new director of the Conference.

The Conference will begin with a reading by fiction writer Tim O’Brien on July 16, at 8:15 p.m. All readings and lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the University of the South’s Mary Sue Cushman Room of the Bairnwick Women’s Center. 

Tim O’Brien is the author of seven novels, including “Going After Cacciato,” which received the National Book Award, and “The Things They Carried,” which was named by The New York Times as one of the 20 best books of the last quarter century and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His novels have sold more than six million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages. His new work of nonfiction, “Dad’s Maybe Book,” will be published in the autumn of 2019.

The first week of the Conference will also feature readings by fiction writers Christine Schutt, Leah Stewart, Randall Kenan, and Jill McCorkle; poets Charles Martin, Maurice Manning, and Sidney Wade; and playwright Naomi Iizuka. The second week will feature readings by fiction writers Margot Livesey, Bobbie Ann Mason, Steve Yarbrough, Michael Knight, Tony Earley, Alice McDermott, and Adrianne Harun; poets B.H. Fairchild, Mark Jarman, Mary Jo Salter, Marilyn Nelson, Wyatt Prunty, Robert Hass, and A.E. Stallings; and playwright Dan O’Brien. 

Editors from 32 Poems, 5E, Algonquin Books, The American Scholar, Blackbird, Copper Canyon Press, Crab Orchard Review, Ecotone, Grand Central Publishing, Grove Atlantic, The Hopkins Review, Kenyon Review, Lookout Books, The Missouri Review, The New Criterion, New Directions, Northwestern University Press, The Paris Review, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, University of Arkansas Press, and The Washington Examiner will discuss publishing, as will agents from Georges Borchardt Literary Agency, The Gernert Company, ICM Partners, Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents, and The Wylie Agency. 

Agents from Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents and Folio Literary Management will also be in attendance, and representatives from The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Agency for the Performing Arts will meet with playwrights. 

A complete Conference schedule can be found on page 6, or online at <>. Authors’ books are available at the University Book & Supply Store.

Supported by the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund established through the estate of the late Tennessee Williams, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference offers instruction and criticism to writers through a series of workshops, readings, and craft lectures in poetry, fiction, and playwriting. For more information, call (931) 598-1654 or visit <>.