The Conference
July 21-August 2, 2020

Offering workshops in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting, the Conference invites talented writers to come to Sewanee each summer to learn from each other in a welcoming and supportive environment. We’re grateful to Tennessee Williams, whose generous gift of the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund allows us to give every Conference participant assistance that covers two-thirds of the actual costs to attend. Additional funding is awarded to fellows and scholars.

In addition to workshops led by two exceptional faculty members, our program includes an individual meeting for each participant with a faculty member, numerous readings, open mics, craft lectures, and master classes taught by faculty and fellows. Visiting editors, agents, and theater professionals also meet with participants and teach master classes. Every year, writers tell us that attending the Sewanee Writers’ Conference is a life-changing experience. We hope you’ll come see for yourself.

The Conference is committed to diversity and celebrating the wide range of writers and backgrounds across the writing community. Our commitment to inclusion begins with our application readers, a diverse group that changes year to year. The first morning of the Conference, we meet for a discussion on the ethics of workshop in which we examine how we can all help foster a welcoming, inclusive environment for writers.

Statement of Inclusion

The Sewanee Writers’ Conference seeks to foster an inclusive environment for its participants, faculty, visitors, and staff. We believe in the values of respect, equality, diversity, and honest discourse. We welcome attendees of all races, ethnicities, sexual and gender orientations, and those with disabilities. Our commitment to these principles forms the bedrock of this writing community and reflects our ambitions for the writing community as a whole.

In our commitment to these values, we would like to share our Code of Conduct. All members of our community agree to this as part of the hiring or admission process.

Code of Conduct

- I understand that the Conference is committed to a safe and respectful environment, diversity and inclusion, and artistic freedom, and I agree to uphold these values as a member of the Conference community. I will consider my audience in selecting materials to read and while speaking extemporaneously at the mic.

- I understand that the Conference does not screen or censor materials for workshops or readings, and I will be mindful of my own well-being in choosing how to participate. The Conference is 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.

- Workshops cannot be successful without everyone’s conscientious, constructive participation. Giving feedback we should be focused on critiquing the work and not the person. When I respond to work or to comments on my own work, I commit to respectful discourse and agree to avoid the personal. In the case of a conflict in workshop, I agree to first seek mediation from the workshop faculty. I understand that if a conflict cannot be resolved I can request to be moved to another workshop.

- I agree to abide by the University’s Non-Discrimination and Title IX policies, which applies to all participants, faculty, staff, and visitors at the Conference.

- I understand that if I am physically or verbally aggressive, abusive, or threatening the Conference reserves the right to ask me to leave.

Commitment to Sustainability

Just as we ask our community to agree to and uphold our values, we feel that it’s important for the Conference to be a responsible member of the world at large. We are committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability and recognize the importance of providing eco-friendly resources to reduce our impact on the environment. These include:

- Reducing plastic waste by using compostable or reusable alternatives.
- Shifting towards electronic resources to reduce use of paper.
- Using organic cotton in our t-shirts.
- Providing the option to donate to the Sewanee Green Fund as a carbon offset for traveling to and from the Conference. Funds go to support student-led environmental initiatives, including a program in Haiti that pays farmers for carbon sequestration.
- Collaborating with the Sewanee Green Fund to construct a pollinator garden on our office grounds.

Our sustainability plan aims to empower the SWC community by acknowledging our place in the world among natural communities.