In addition to ongoing programs, the Department of English also sponsors one-time conferences, workshops, and other special events, all of which are open to the public.
With the help of the Hodges Fund, the department brings to campus a wide variety scholars, critics, and writers—at least ten each year—and sponsors and/or hosts a variety of meetings and conferences.
Recent speakers have included Michael Bérubé, president of MLA, to Kwame Anthony Appiah, Patricia Roberts-Miller and Duncan Wu. Anne Beaufort, author of College Writing and Beyond, gave a keynote speech and conducted a workshop at our first-year writing instructor workshops in August, 2012. Along with the Writers in the Library Series, we have brought writers such as Bobbie Ann Mason, Terrence Hayes, Elizabeth Gilbert, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marge Piercy, Alice Friman, Natalie Bakopoulos, Adam Johnson, Adam Zagajewski, and David Madden to campus.
Recently the department hosted the Southeastern Renaissance Conference and helped to organize the 27th Annual Conference on Practical Communications.
In the past, the department has hosted a diverse array of conferences, including “Arts of the Present,” the inaugural conference of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP), “The Future of the Harlem Renaissance,” the annual meeting of Southeastern Studies in the Eighteenth Century, and cosponsored a symposium on Art in the Public Sphere.
Additionally, with the assistance of NEA Audience Development Grants, the Creative Writing Program hosted three-to-five day residencies by distinguished writers who visited public schools and other community sites as well as giving readings on campus. Writers participating in this program included Toni Cade Bambara, Stephen Becker, Joy Harjo, George Ella Lyon, William Stafford, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jeff Daniel Marion, Al Young, Linda Hogan, Gloria Naylor, George Garrett, Gioia Timpanelli, Colette Inez, and Miguel Algarin. More than 3,500 people in the East Tennessee area were served by the visits of these writers; approximately half of those served were public school children.
The department also gives financial assistance from the Hodges Fund to other departments that bring eminent scholars and writers to campus.