Author Tessa Fontaine to speak at annual Arts & Writing Retreat

Author Tessa Fontaine
Author Tessa Fontaine
Author Tessa Fontaine

The novelist and memoirist is the featured speaker at Sweet Briar’s summer retreat for creative pursuits.

Posted on April 22, 2024

Sweet Briar College is pleased to announce that novelist and memoirist Tessa Fontaine will give the keynote talk at the Sweet Briar Summer: Arts and Writing Retreat being held on campus June 27-30, 2024. She also will be available throughout the weekend to visit with retreat participants in social and workshop settings.

The Sweet Briar Summer: Arts and Writing Retreat features workshops taught by Sweet Briar College faculty and visiting professional artists. Each workshop will be a hands-on learning experience held on our beautiful campus. More information about the retreat is available here.

Fontaine’s writing is influenced by her diverse experiences as a sideshow performer, a shoe saleswoman, and a creative writing professor, and she taught for years in jails and prisons. Her first book, The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, is A New York Times Editors’ Choice; Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and best book of 2018 from Southern Living, Amazon, Refinery29, and The New York Post. Her debut novel, The Red Grove, is forthcoming from FSG in May 2024. Her writing can be found in Outside, AGNI, The New York Times, Glamour, The Believer, LitHub, Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School, Seneca Review, and more.

Raised outside San Francisco, Fontaine got her MFA from the University of Alabama and taught creative writing at the University of Utah. She’s received awards and fellowships from Tin House, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Taft Nicholson Center, Writing by Writers, and Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She has guided students on the New York Times summer journeys and founded Salt Lake City’s Writers in the Schools program. Along with the writer Annie Hartnett, she runs the Accountability Workshops.

She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, as well as their overly-friendly dog and sassy cat.