Founding Editor of to Step Down

Founding Editor of to Step Down

Margaret Renkl, the founding editor of, the literary website of Humanities Tennessee, will step down May 31 after ten years. Current managing editor Maria Browning will assume the editorship of the site, which reaches approximately 500,000 Tennesseans monthly through its website and statewide newspaper partnerships.

Margaret Renkl (credit Heidi Ross)

Renkl is the author of the forthcoming Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, to be published July 9. She is also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear each Monday. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.

“Margaret’s vision and commitment to promoting books and authors  in Tennessee have guided since its inception a decade ago,” said Tim Henderson, Humanities Tennessee executive director. “Her leadership has promoted the works of Tennessee authors and made it possible for readers to know about new books and events in their communities. Her work has immeasurably enriched the literary life in Tennessee.  It has been an honor to work with her for ten years, and we are delighted that she is becoming a published author herself and receiving well-deserved recognition for her talents.” runs original content every weekday that includes reviews, interviews, features, poems, and essays focusing on Tennessee authors and those touring in the state. It includes an archive of biographies of notable Tennessee writers, and a list of literary organizations and publications in the state. Content from runs weekly in the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Nashville Scene, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, The Norris Bulletin, and Knoxville News-Sentinel, assuring that Tennesseans have access to news about books and authors from the state, and events occurring in their communities.

During Renkl’s tenure, published notable interviews with a range of authors and public figures, from President Jimmy Carter to David Sedaris. Her weekly editor’s note showcased the accomplishments of the state’s writers, and her commitment to poetry and essays has resulted in the diverse voices of Tennesseans being featured on the site. Humanities Tennessee received the prestigious Schwartz Prize for public humanities programs in 2012 from the Federation of State  Humanities Councils for

Maria Browning (photo by Margaret Renkl)

Browning  is a fifth-generation Tennessean who grew up in Erin and Nashville. She studied philosophy and American history at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and returned to Tennessee permanently in 1997. She has been a freelance writer and editor for almost 20 years, with work appearing in the Nashville Scene, Vanderbilt Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Still, Hippocampus, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing workshops at The Porch Writers’ Collective in Nashville, where she also offers private critiques and editing services. Her reviews, interviews, and feature articles have appeared regularly at Chapter 16 since the site’s launch, and she has served as Chapter 16’s managing editor since January 2018. She makes her home in White Bluff, in a house heavily cluttered with books and dogs. operates on a Creative Commons license, making its content accessible for free in order to serve the mission of promoting Tennessee authors and literary opportunities for readers. For more information on using the site’s content, contact Maria Browning at: