College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Two UM Graduate Students Selected for Prestigious Writer’s Conference

Participants to spend two weeks studying under veteran authors at University of the South

Molly Brown

Molly Brown

Two University of Mississippi graduate students have been selected to participate in the 27th session of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference this summer in Tennessee.

Molly McCully Brown and Jan Verberkmoes are John and Renee Grisham Fellows in the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Both were nominated by faculty members for the highly competitive conference and will attend on scholarship.

“For our M.F.A. program to have two students receiving funding says a lot about the quality of work that both Molly and Jan are producing,” said Derrick Harriell, the program’s interim director.

The conference, held each summer at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, allows selected writers to teach and work with up-and-coming writers during the 12-day event, from July 19 to 31.

“I’ve heard about the conference from writer friends for years and I’m thrilled to be able to participate, to talk and study with a host of great writers I admire enormously and to have the chance to meet so many other writers working all over the country,” Brown said. “A community of fellow writers has been one of the biggest gifts that graduate school has given me, and I hope my time at Sewanee will only expand that community even further.”

Brown, from Amherst, Virginia, earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. Several of her poems and essays have appeared in various publications.

Distinguished faculty from across the country will provide instruction and criticism through workshops and lectures focused on poetry, fiction writing and playwriting.

Jan Verberkmoes

Jan Verberkmoes

Verberkmoes, a Roseburg, Oregon, native who earned a bachelor’s degree in German at the University of Oregon, said she is eager for the conference to begin.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with writers whom I admire and I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know other workshop participants,” she said.

The conference experience is invaluable, said Beth Ann Fennelly, a UM English professor and renowned poet.

“I had a scholarship to this same conference when I was young and the lessons I learned and friends I made are still a big part of my writing life, so I am very excited for two of my students to have this amazing opportunity,” Fennelly said.

“I also am proud of how their selection reflects on the M.F.A. program as a whole. It’s very unusual for a program to have two students so honored.”

Recent Ole Miss M.F.A. graduate Corinna McClanahan Schroeder also will be attending the conference on a fellowship.

“Our program is well represented at one of the most prestigious summer conferences,” Fennelly said.