MONTEAGLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Sewanee Writers' Conference begins on Tuesday with a reading by fiction writer Alice McDermott, the author of six novels and the recipient of a 1998 National Book Award.

The following 11 days will include readings by Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson and two former poets laureate of the U.S. who are also Pulitzer Prize winners, Robert Hass and Mark Strand.

All readings and lectures are free and open to the public. The conference is supported by the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund established through the estate of the late Tennessee Williams.

The conference offers instruction and criticism to writers through a series of workshops, readings, and lectures in poetry, fiction, and playwriting. The full schedule of events is available at .