Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


A. Manette Ansay was born in 1964 in Michigan and raised in Port Washington, Wisconsin, among 67 cousins and over 200 second cousins. She is the author of six novels, including Good Things I Wish You (July, 2009), Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Book Club Selection, and Midnight Champagne, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as a short story collection, Read This and Tell Me What It Says, and a memoir, Limbo. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, a Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize, and two Great Lakes Book Awards.

Mansay attended Cornell from fall of ’89 until spring of ’91. During that time she began publishing short stories. After graduating from Cornell, she held a lectureship there from ’91-’92. From ’92-’93, she was Writer in Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. From ’93-’97 she was an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and in spring of ’97, she resigned from full-time academia in order to concentrate on writing. Over the next few years she taught as a visiting writer at Warren Wilson College (in Asheville, North Carolina) and the University of the South (in Sewanee, Tennessee; fall ’98), as well as spending a semester at Marquette University (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), where she held the Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies.

In 2004, she took a Visiting Professorship at the University of Miami and discovered how much she had missed having colleagues, students, an academic home, and she remains there to this day. She lives with her daughter in Florida, where she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Miami.