A Tribute to Wyatt Prunty

Jill McCorkle

Fall 2019

The first time I ever taught at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, I flew from Massachusetts with my children who were eight and eleven. I had been assured that Sewanee welcomes children, no problem at all.

“But are you sure?” I remember asking Wyatt. His phone call had caught me completely by surprise, the offer itself still too good to be true. And children are welcome? My son had once thrown so much food from a cafeteria high chair at a writing event, there was discussion about whether or not any children should ever be allowed there again. I was standing in my long-ago kitchen—a pile of dishes in the sink and a fat yellow Labrador licking crumbs from the floor around my feet—phone cord stretching as far as it could go so I could see around the corner where both kids were plugged into the television, their video game’s mechanical music already stuck in my head for the day.

Jill McCorkle is the author of six novels and four story collections. Her seventh novel, Hieroglyphics, is forthcoming in spring 2020.

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