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English Department

Honoring John Seigenthaler

“In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever,” wrote Oscar Wilde. Few journalists have served as nobler leaders in their profession—and in the nation, more broadly—than John Seigenthaler, who died Friday. In his vast and varied career, Seigenthaler was a close advisor to John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, and a reporter, editor and publisher at The Tennessean. A tenacious advocate for racial equality, he led the coverage of the civil rights movement and fought on its front lines. Until his death he also directed the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt, where he hosted panels with luminaries on topics ranging from foreign policy to the future of storytelling.

At one recent such panel, which Seigenthaler hosted in collaboration with the English department, an audience member lauded his presence as a “living legend”; he rejoined, “Only in my own head.” He was wrong on two counts: his career is and will be celebrated far and wide (thousands of guests thronged to his funeral), and the humble writer and activist never let his influence go to his head. 

Read about the life and career of John Seigenthaler in the following Tennessean article , and this essay .

~Amanda Little, Writer in Residence




Each year, the EGSA recognizes members of the faculty for significant contributions to the teaching and mentoring of graduate students. This year's winners of the EGSA Mentoring Award are Scott Juengel and Mark Schoenfield, and the winner of the EGSA Teaching Award is Teresa Goddu.

Congratulations to Bryn Chancellor (Vanderbilt MFA '09), who has just won the Maureen Egen Award. Bryn was an outstanding student in our second MFA group to graduate from the program. She teaches creative writing workshops and literature at University of Montevallo.

Coming Fall 2014-The New English Major.

The world doesn’t need English majors ... but they make it a better place.

The Wisdom of the Elders program, sponsored in part by the Department of English, is directed by Professor Ifeoma Nwankwo,  We are proud to announce it has won the “Community Center Program Award” given to the best community center program – for youth, families, seniors, or intergenerational, in Tennessee by the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association.


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