On Tuesday night, the Frances Bond Davis Theatre was overflowing as alumnae, current students, faculty members, parents and members of the community gathered to hear Margaret Renkl's moving testimony to love, family and the process of grief while writing her debut novel, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss.
Margaret Renkl is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina. She taught English and Creative Writing in Harpeth Hall's Upper School from 1987 to 1997. Currently, she lives in Nashville and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear each Monday. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity and River Teeth, among others. She serves as editor of Chapter 16, an online publication that provides coverage of literary news and events in Tennessee.
Throughout the evening, Ms. Renkl graced the audience with funny, tender and often emotional stories from her childhood, her years as a teacher, and her time as a caregiver to her beloved parents and in-laws at the end of their lives intertwined with her observations of the natural world. From her memories of listening to the Alabama storms in her father's lap from "In the Storm, Safe from the Storm" to her reflection of her mother's sudden passing in "No Exit," Ms. Renkl took the audience on a journey through her life in a world filled with astonishment and heartache.
The evening was a beautiful reminder that amid life's joy and sadness, we must remember to, as Ms. Renkl writes in her essay "Still" from Late Migrations, "In the stir of too much motion: Hold still. Be quiet. Listen."
This event was sponsored by Harpeth Hall ConnectHER. HHConnectHER provides programs and initiatives that foster connections between alumnae and with the school. HHConnectHER seeks to offer a platform and network for alumnae to strengthen relationships with fellow alumnae and to empower and to support one another beyond graduation from Harpeth Hall. To learn more, click here.
Anne Nicholas Weiss '98 and Leigh Fitts '91, co-chairs of HHConnectHER