A Tribute to Wyatt Prunty

Rebecca Makkai

Fall 2019

In the summer of 2011, on a muggy day toward the end of the Writers’ Conference, an enormous snapping turtle crawled out of a pond somewhere on the Sewanee campus and positioned itself in the middle of a small access road. The thing was, in my memory, as big around as a car tire. Entire ecosystems of algae clung to its carapace. Its tail lent it an eerily prehistoric and fierce aura. I’m not sure how many different expressions turtles are capable of, but this one looked weary, pissed off. It was, more than anything, old.

We took pictures of it, we shrieked, we asked each other how long snappin...

Rebecca Makkai’s most recent novel, The Great Believers, won the LA Times Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

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