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We offer our students opportunities that are otherwise hard to find, either at high schools or at other summer programs. Our workshops in playwriting, fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction are led by writers of significant accomplishment and promise: our former SampleScheduleworkshop leaders have won the Roerich poetry prize, been recognized by The New Yorker as among the twenty best young American novelists, and featured by “Oprah’s Book Club.” And our workshop leaders really get to know their students, and vice-versa because we’ve kept our numbers low: workshops no larger than ten, and a total enrollment of about sixty. And we make space in the schedule for two “one-on-one” conferences between student and teacher, as well as plenty of informal contact.

We also offer an impressive lineup of well-known visiting writers whose works students read and discuss. To ensure that each student has meaningful contact with the writers the students are required to read one book by each of these visiting writers before arriving. Once on campus the students attend a discussion about each book, led by either a Sewanee English professor or a Writers’ Conference faculty member. When our guests arrive, participants will be prepared to get the most out of the authors' readings and out of the informal discussions that will follow.

We felt strongly that our program should offer a serious course in creative writing, not just a “get your feet wet” introduction. So we ask participants to specify a genre--playwriting, poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction--before they arrive, and they attend a workshop focused on that genre. We don’t try to include “College Writing” or “cross writing,” believing that the serious work we do on creative writing leaves no time for anything else. In your workshop, you will read and discuss the works of great authors and try to apply their lessons, free-write and write from prompts, and above all read and respond to the work of your peers. Our students arrive with widely varying levels of experience, but nearly all of them leave with a portfolio that they can be proud of, and that we encourage them to read to the group at the end of the conference. Also, and not surprisingly, they report that their two weeks of intensive reading and writing at Sewanee have made them better readers and expository writers in high school and college.

Students spend most mornings in workshops, and most evenings in discussions or readings by faculty, special guests, and fellow participants. They are served three meals a day in the University dining hall, and sleep in University dormitories (supervised by responsible resident advisors). What about the other times? There are class assignments to complete, but we also make time for our students to take advantage of the recreational opportunities afforded by Sewanee’s beautiful campus.

Students have access to the university’s golf and tennis facilities, to its Fowler Sports and Fitness Center, as well as to its Du Pont library. And the natural beauty of our mountain makes it an ideal setting for lovers of the outdoors; we schedule long and short hikes, a caving expedition, and are happy for students to explore the Domain on their own as well. Students are also invited to participate in extracurricular events such as a talent show, karaoke night, readings of their own works, discussions of their favorite writers at one of our local coffee shops, and, on the last night, a banquet and dance.

 

Playwriting is Back!
For the fifth year in a row, the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference will offer a workshop in Playwriting to be taught by the award-winning playwright, screenwriter, director and actor David Roby, who will also lead workshops in improvisational acting techniques for all students. In the second week of the program, Arlene Hutton, prize-winning author of The Nibroc Trilogy and other plays, will visit and engage students in a staged reading of one of her plays.
 
The cost for the program is $2,000. Transportation to and from the Nashville or Chattanooga airport is available at an additional fee of $125. Offers of admission will be made on a rolling basis; the review of applications will begin March 3 and continue until all workshops are full.
 
 
Elizabeth Grammer, Director
Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference • 735 University Avenue • The University of the South • Sewanee, Tennessee 37383-1000
(931) 598-1541sywc@sewanee.edu