We are now accepting applications to the 2021 Sewanee Writers' Conference.
Strange as it seems in this uncertain moment, it’s the time of the year when we start planning for the next summer’s conference, and we are going ahead with that planning. Our hope is that we’ll be able to hold the conference as usual, but we are well aware that circumstances may intervene. So we’re planning for a standard conference, for a social-distanced conference, and for the worst-case scenario of cancellation. (At this moment, should we have to cancel, our plan is to once again offer a robust summer-long slate of virtual workshops and master classes.)
At our next conference, whether or not that is 2021, we will be honoring acceptances to the 2020 Conference. This means that we have a smaller number of slots available this year. We will have our usual admissions process, but the application dates will be from February 15 to March 15 rather than our usual two months. We welcome all to apply, but please be aware that we expect competition for the remaining spots to be stiff. In 2022, we hope to return to our usual process and acceptance rate. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our virtual reading series, and of course, stay well everyone.
Applicants will be selected on the strength and promise of the work submitted and on the committee's judgment that the applicant is likely to benefit from and contribute to the Conference. Publications or productions are not required for contributors (general admission). There is no application fee.
Applicants must be 21 years of age by the time of the Conference. All participants are expected to attend the Conference for its entire 12-day duration.
Fiction application manuscripts should be 20-40 pages, typed, double-spaced (examples: a novel excerpt, a longer story, or two or more short stories). Scholarship applicants may submit a combination of published and unpublished work, observing length limits of 40 pages. If applying for a fellowship, please upload the first 40 pages, double-spaced, of your most recently published novel or short story collection.
Poetry application manuscripts should be 10-15 pages, single-spaced. Scholarship applicants may submit a combination of published and unpublished work, observing length limits of 20 pages. If applying for a fellowship, please upload your most recent full poetry collection.
Nonfiction application manuscripts should be 20-40 pages, typed, double-spaced. Scholarship applicants may submit a combination of published and unpublished work, observing length limits of 40 pages. If applying for a fellowship, please upload the first 40 pages, double-spaced, of your most recently published nonfiction book.
Playwriting contributor and scholarship application manuscripts should be a play or an excerpt of a play (please send 20 pages minimum), standard playscript format. Scholarship applicants should submit current work that has been workshopped or produced. Fellowship applicants should submit a full-length play or the equivalent in length of a collection of shorter works, all of which have seen production.
Applicants accepted to the Conference will have the opportunity to submit a separate manuscript for workshop as well as their top choices for a faculty reader.
Cost to Attend
Thanks to the generosity of the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund, supported by the estate of Tennessee Williams, all writers who attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference receive partial funding. Contributors receive assistance covering two-thirds of the actual cost to attend. Additional funding is awarded to fellows and scholars.
Conference Fees (After Assistance)
Contributors - $1,800 ($1,100 for tuition and $700 for room and board)
Scholars - $700 (Conference covers tuition)
Fellowships - Conference covers tuition, room, and board
If admitted to the Conference, contributors and scholars secure their places by sending deposits of $300 by May 15. The balance of the fee is due in Sewanee by May 30. All participants, including fellows, are responsible for their own travel costs.
The Conference offers a limited number of fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis. Award applicants who would like to be considered for a contributor position should they not receive an award must submit a separate contributor application in addition to the award application.
Fellowship (Walter E. Dakin, Father William Ralston, or John N. Wall) applicants in poetry and fiction should have a book published by an academic or commercial publisher. Self-published titles are not considered eligible. Novellas and chapbooks are eligible for scholarship applications, but not for fellowships. We will accept fellowship applicants with books in press, but only if the book is in publication by the time of the Conference.
Scholarship (Tennessee Williams, Stanley Elkin, Claudia Emerson, Horton Foote, Barry Hannah, Anthony Hecht, John Hollander, Donald Justice, Romulus Linney, Howard Nemerov, Mark Strand, Peter Taylor, Mona Van Duyn, Mary Willard, Georges and Anne Borchardt, or Susannah McCorkle) applicants in poetry and fiction should have a number of genre-specific publications.
Playwriting applicants for these awards should have work that has seen production.
Writers can only attend the Conference on a traditional scholarship once and a fellowship once in any particular genre.
Statement of Nondiscrimination and Related Commitments
The Sewanee Writers' Conference proudly supports a diverse community of writers dedicated to developing their craft and is committed to providing a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere for all. We have up-to-date diversity and harassment policies which follow best practices focused on training for all faculty and staff. We provide complaint reporting information to all writers regarding the University of the South's Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy; and have a Conference Deputy Title IX Coordinator. We conduct all Conference activities with compassion and a generosity of spirit.
The University of the South stands firmly for the principle that its employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs have a right to be free from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, pregnancy and childbirth, and genetic information, and free from sexual misconduct in its educational programs and activities and with regard to employment. The University is committed to sustaining a community in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Key to this value are efforts to nurture an environment of civility and mutual respect and to foster a culture of reporting concerns so that the University can respond promptly and equitably whenever an incident occurs. All employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs also have the right to be free from harassment and retaliation.
The University is also committed to free expression. Speech not specifically directed against individuals in a harassing way may be protected by traditional safeguards of free speech, even though the comments may cause considerable discomfort or concern to others in the community. (Source: University's Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy available at www.sewanee.edu/media/provost/Non-Discrimination-Policy.pdf)