A Message from Carmen Toussaint, Executive Director of Rivendell

by Kate Parrish on January 15th, 2018


Dear Rivendell Friends and Family,

The first time I drove down the long winding drive at Rivendell I felt a deep sense of peace cover me. The picturesque view of Lost Cove and the Manor took my breath away, and the beginning of a dream started.

Walking the grounds with Kevin Wilson and Leigh Anne Couch, I was filled with joy and anticipation as we envisioned a space for writers. And what a space it has become!

So, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you that Rivendell Writers’ Colony will be closing its doors at the end of March. Our benefactor, who has generously provided so many writers the time and room to create, has decided to pursue a lifelong dream of hers to open a spiritual healing center.

The beauty of Rivendell and the precious memories that have been made here will be cherished in my heart forever. Over the last five years I have received the amazing gift of getting to take this journey with each of you. The days spent hiking, having simple suppers at my table to talk about your work, or even tending those of you who have gotten lost or fallen have been a blessing to my life.

The word we hear most often to describe Rivendell is “magic.” And while this property is no doubt imbued with something very special, the magic was you. The magic is you. You will always be part of this place and its history. I thank each and every one of you for your dedication to writing and for your love of the book.

My heartfelt thanks go out to so many folks including our amazing and wonderfully talented Kate Parrish. She will always be one of the best parts of my time at Rivendell. The University of the South through the Sewanee School of Letters, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Review reached out to help us better connect to the literary world and made us feel a part of the family on the mountain. The Porch Writers’ Collective brought an educational arm to our space and Parnassus Books filled our campus with beautiful weekends devoted simply to reading. The Southern Foodways Alliance brought us food writers from around the country, leaving us with better language to talk about food and foodways on the page and around the table. Our Managing Editors, Creative Council, readers and board members have enriched all of our lives by sharing their time, expertise, and love of RWC. You will all continue to be a part of my family as I journey to the next adventure in life.

Because of you, over the last five years we have been able to create a space for hundreds of writers and readers from over 32 states and three countries. We leave on a very high point in our own story. I am confident our next chapter together—whatever shape it may take—isn’t far away.

I look forward to seeing you along your writing journey.

Keep Writing,

Carmen Toussaint
Executive Director
Rivendell Writers’ Colony