Saying so long to 2016: a note from Carmen

by Kate Parrish on December 13th, 2016

Season’s Greetings!

As I write this, our current writers-in-residence sit happy and productive by the fireplace, measuring the passage of time only by how quickly they must feed a new log to the fire. The temperatures are dropping, and after many weeks of drought, we have finally received some much-needed rain.

I like to take this time each year to reflect back on the last twelve months at Rivendell and share with you, our closest friends and supporters, how grateful we are for you. This year has introduced us to many new friends, deepened our relationships with those we already hold so dear, and—we hope—found many of you leaving our gravel drive with new words on the page.

The year began with our first fiction writers’ retreat and the beauty of newly fallen snow. From there, each month brought us a host of new writers, each with his or her own literary challenge to embrace, conquer, or reflect upon. As spring found its way back to the Mountain, we welcomed the return of our friends at Southern Foodways Alliance, Parnassus Books and The Porch. Their workshops and retreats always mean new and wonderful individuals will find their way to us.

The summer brought us the joy of students working on their MFAs and MAs in the Sewanee School of Letters program. For six weeks, our space is filled with reading, writing and many an all-nighter. Following School of Letters, our writer–in-residence program returned in mid-July, just in time for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Maurice Manning, a perennial Conference favorite and past Pulitzer Prize-finalist, was awarded our Wendell Berry New Agrarian Fellowship in July. We look forward to welcoming him back for his residency in 2017.

In August, Rivendell took a nice break after a busy summer to ensure our space was healthy and in wonderful working condition for the fall and winter months. October brought us a trip to Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books, along with the chance to show off our new t-shirts, coffee mugs, and tote bags. We also launched our new website which not only highlights Rivendell’s beauty but makes it easier than ever to apply for residency with online submissions through Submittable.

We filled the house with poets in November for our first poetry workshop led by the always-inspiring Leigh Anne Couch. Now as the year winds down and the house stays full, we are looking with great enthusiasm for what the New Year will bring us while making sure to enjoy what each day has to offer us here.

This November, we launched 10 in ’17, a campaign to raise $5,000 to fund ten, two-week residencies in 2017. We are grateful to all those who have already supported this campaign. We are still working towards reaching our goal and hope you will consider Rivendell this year as you finalize your end-of-year giving plans. We would be honored to have your support. Donations can be made at or by mailing a check to Rivendell.

You—our Rivendell family—continue to be so generous in the gifts you give to us. Whether it’s the books you donate to line our shelves, the recognition of our space in your newly published books, or the photos you take and share on social media—everywhere we look, we see how you have helped shape us into what we are today and what we will continue to become. We thank you and our future writers thank you.

Have a beautiful holiday season and Happy New Year!

In gratitude,

Carmen Toussaint

Executive Director