Tennessee Williams, American playwright and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, left his estate to The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, as a memorial to his maternal grandfather, the Reverend Walter E. Dakin, who studied at Sewanee’s School of Theology in 1895. This generous gift, which came to the University in 1996, included the copyrights to the plays, screenplays, poems, letters and stories written by Mr. Williams.
The Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund is used primarily to support the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, both of which support writers and encourage creative writing as contemplated by Mr. Williams’ will. More than 500 writers have been provided financial assistance to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Additional information about both Conferences is available on the University’s website: www.sewanee.edu and at www.sewaneewriters.org. The Fund also supports scholarships for students who wish to pursue creative writing and fellowships which are granted annually to budding playwrights or authors. Those fellows include Ann Patchett, Claire Messud, Tony Early, and Mark Richard. The Tennessee Williams Center houses the University’s theater department and a portion of the Fund supports the department and the theatrical productions it mounts in the Center. Those productions include works of Tennessee Williams Fellows and Mr. Williams’ own plays. The Fund also supports the creative writing program in the University’s School of Letters. Because the income stream from the licensing of the copyrights will stop as the copyrights expire, the University has set aside a portion of the Fund as permanent endowment thus insuring that Mr. Williams’ gift will benefit writers for years to come.
A license from the University is required to perform or publish in whole or in part any of Williams’ works.
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