Misty Mountain Hop, Literary Legends & Elven Realms

Rivendell Writers’ Colony is hidden on the Cumberland Plateau, overlooking the hauntingly beautiful Lost Cove. An ephemeral fog sweeps through the property, inspiring former owners to name it for Tolkien’s elven realm. The century old estate home is simply called The Manor. This magical space is Sewanee, Tennessee located between Chattanooga and Nashville.

Sewanee is a literary haven.

The University of the South is here, home to the Sewanee Review which was founded in 1892. It has published original works by Flannery O’Connor, T.S. Eliot and Wendell Berry. The Tennessee Williams estate funds the Sewanee Writers’ Conference each year and has drawn authors, publishers and literati around the globe to the area.

Literary legends Allen Tate, Andrew Lytle, William Alexander Percy and Walker Percy have all been a part of Sewanee’s legacy. Editors of The Paris Review, NYT best sellers and authors of all ilk’s have been drawn to this elusive space and called it home for a while. The only thing missing was a writers’ colony—a place where writers could escape to fuel their creative spirit and call upon The Muse.

Conversations spawned by the history and comradery of authors past and present which lead Mary Elizabeth Nelson to purchase the Rivendell property in 1990. Renovations began in 2005, and her vision gave us this secretive escape. Here we can join in Sewanee’s rich heritage while contemplating our WIPs. Authors of all genres are welcome, whether they are beginners or seasoned best sellers. My first experience here was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. When asked how I would describe it, only one word works…Magical.

I’m honored to be Writer-In-Residence at this sanctuary, wishing for divine intervention or inspiration—whatever it takes to polish up the March 2018 collaboration entitled Sexuality in History: The British Stripped Bare, and finishing my first draft of Lillie Langtry’s story. The surroundings are quiet to encourage creativity–Wi-Fi is limited and there are no TVs. The Manor is warm, inviting and you are made to feel at home. The first place they show you is the liquor cabinet, because we are writers.

This is my second journey to Rivendell and I look forward to seeing what The Muse brings to me. And, I’m curious to see if the ghost remembers my name.

See y’all at the end of October. xoxo

Learn more here Rivendell Writers Colony 

Photos by the author.


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