​Two Big Events for the Sewanee Review


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Sewanee is no stranger to writers—bestselling novelists, margin-scrawlers and everyone in between. Sewanee has long been a retreat for writers looking to unearth their stories, and the University of the South has a history of molding experts of language. The Sewanee Review, however, has an even longer history.

Founded in 1892 by teacher and critic William Peterfield Trent, the Sewanee Review is the country’s oldest continuously published literary quarterly.

Next week, the Sewanee Review is hitting the road to host an event in Nashville aimed at making Music City a bit more bookish.

In partnership with the Porch TN, a writing center in Nashville, the Review will host In Conversation with Lisa Taddeo and Stephanie Danler at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 28, at Bastion Nashville. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

Taddeo is author of the No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 UK bestselling book “Three Women.” Danler is the author of the bestselling novel “Sweetbitter,” which is now a show on STARZ.

The next day, at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Convocation Hall, Taddeo and Danler will join the Sewanee Review staff to celebrate the publication of the Fall Issue.

Editor Adam Ross wrote that the Fall Issue of the Review features fiction that refuses to look away from difficult truths, as well as a tribute to founding director of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Wyatt Prunty. As a tribute to Prunty, who will be stepping down from his position, Ross wrote that more than 20 conference faculty and participants contributed pieces to honor his tenure.

Hellen Wainaina, assistant editor at the Review, said next week’s event will serve as an opportunity to see into the mind and process of an author.

“I’m imaging and hoping they’ll talk about what it’s like to be a woman in writing today, but also how their projects come to fruition,” she said.

Taddeo’s “Three Women” has been called a “portrait of longing that exposes the fragility, complexity and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power.” Taddeo’s book has been in progress for the last eight years.

“To hear about the genesis of that project, what it’s like to work on it for so long and what she’s discovered about contemporary women and desire will be incredible,” Wainaina said. “And Stephanie, she’s in this interesting middle ground where she’s an incredible author and a vibrant nonfiction writer, who is also working on the TV show. There’s so much she’s tethering in terms of what we might think of high literature, but it will be interesting to learn of the challenges of navigating those two worlds.”

Wainaina said her hope for the event is to modernize the conversation about literature in a way that reinvigorates it.

“To have these two writers who are very high up in American letters, who push us as readers to broaden our scope of who we are writing or reading or teaching about, is great. There are students who are familiar with some of these writers, and it is such a wonderful opportunity to encourage curiosity among the students. It’s also an affirmation to young writers that it’s actually possible to do this kind of work,” Wainaina said. “It’s so powerful when you can meet someone you’ve read and someone you admire that you feel is speaking to who and where you are in life.”

The Sewanee Review Fall Open House will be at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Convocation Hall. A live stream is available at https://vimeo.com/event/16329


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