Faculty members and students in the Department of English perform extensive community outreach and public service. For example, many have lead discussions of literary works, or regularly give public readings at a variety of local events, schools, bookstores, and places of worship. Whether it’s reading poetry as part of a weekly writer’s night, or serving as resources for public K-12 schools, our faculty shares both their love of literature and their creative talents with our community.
Members of the department also have been active in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, an organization of local authors that provides a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers, and that seeks to promote writing and creativity in the wider community through education, publication, and sponsorship of writing-related public events.
Our faculty members helped organize the Writers’ Guild in the early 1990s; the department helped sponsor the guild’s first publication, Voices from the Valley, a successful literary anthology edited by founding guild member Jeanne McDonald. The department also helped make possible the first Libba Moore Gray Poetry Prize, offered by the guild for young writers.
Numerous creative writing faculty and students were included in Voices from the Valley and in the guild’s second anthology, All Around Us: Poems from the Valley. Our faculty also regularly supports the guild by leading workshops and active participation in the organization.
Our department’s faculty also participates in University-wide outreach programs. For example, Laura Howes has participated in the College of Arts and Sciences Scholars-in-the-Schools Program, which enables faculty members to act as resources in their areas of expertise to local public schools. Howes has helped to augment and enrich the teaching of medieval studies at Carter Middle School and High School in east Knox County.