Eve Shelnutt: An MFA Graduate

Eve Shelnutt, undated.

Evelyn “Eve” Brown Shelnutt was a 1973 graduate of the M.F.A. program at UNC Greensboro, becoming a prolific short story and poetry author.

Eve was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on August 29, 1941, to James M. and Evelyn B. Waldrop. She had an older sister, Cynthia, and a younger sister, Anne. Eve’s early life was spent moving, as the family followed James’s television and radio career. In 1957, her parents divorced, and Eve, her mother, and her sisters moved to Greenville, South Carolina.

After the birth of her son, Gregory William Shelnutt, from her marriage with James William Shelnutt, Eve began taking creative writing classes. During James Shelnutt’s time in the army at Dayton, Ohio, Eve took classes at Wright State University (WSU) with poet Dick Allen. After her divorce from James, Eve also began day classes at WSU, as well as writing news articles for local papers. In 1972, Eve graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English.

Eve Shelnutt, undated.

Eve received a Randall Jarrell Fellowship that enabled her to attend the UNC Greensboro. During her time at UNC Greensboro, Eve began a lifelong friendship with poet Fred Chappell, who read her manuscripts. Eve published her first collection of short stories, The Love Child, in 1979.

After graduating from UNC Greensboro, Eve traveled across the country, teaching journalism at Western Michigan University, teaching the MFA writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching at Ohio University, and finally teaching at The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Eve spent her retirement years in Athens, Georgia, where she passed away on April 7, 2015.

Eve’s papers are housed at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives. The papers include drafts of writings, teaching materials, professional and personal correspondence, photographs, and audio recordings of readings.

Draft of a poem from First a Long Hesitation: Love Poems, 1988.

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