Susannah Felts, Co-Founder

Susannah is a fiction writer, freelance writer, teacher, editor, and native Nashvillian. In 2009, after many years away from her hometown, she returned to put down roots with her family in East Nashville. Since then she has been an adjunct faculty member at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, and has taught a series of fiction workshops independently, aka the beta-version of The Porch. Previously, Susannah taught creative writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, at Gallery 37's after-school arts program in Chicago, and in several other youth and community workshop settings. Her first novel, "This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record," was published in 2008 by Featherproof Books, an independent publisher based in Chicago.

Susannah was the recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction for 2013. She has been awarded the Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Oxford American, The Sun, Quarterly West, Corium, Redux, Hobart, Five Chapters, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,, Wigleaf, Quick Fiction, and others. She earned her BA with Highest Honors in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Susannah is also a contributing writer for (and ardent fan of) Chapter 16, Humanities Tennessee’s site devoted to literary culture. Check out Chapter 16's excellent reviews, interviews, and more here.




Katie McDougall, Co-Founder

Katie McDougall, also a native Nashvillian, first took Fiction Writing as a senior at Colorado College, where she earned her BA in English, and in the twenty-plus years since, she has been writing stories, crafting novels, scribbling in journals, and teaching, reading, selling, breathing literature. She earned her MFA in Fiction Writing at Colorado State University, and her short stories have appeared in and in Katie’s writing awards have included a four-week writing residency at the Kimmel•Harding•Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska, Association of Writers and Poet Intro. Journals Award Nomination for Colorado State University, and the Paul Gillette Writing Contest Finalist. She is currently in the process of finding a home for her first novel, The Color Wheel.

Katie has over fifteen years experience as a teacher of literature and creative writing. Since leaving the traditional classroom, she has worked as the Master Teacher in Residence at The Island School in the Bahamas, as an outdoor educator, as a freelance writer, a tutor, and a proud bookseller at Nashville’s fabulous Parnassus Books. Additionally, she has coordinated writing workshops, ranging from the annual one-day Nashville Young Writers Workshop to the week-long Sense of Place Workshop with Richard Bausch at Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas. She has also been a guest teacher of Fiction Writing at the Ah Haa School of Arts in Telluride, Colorado. She is delighted to be a founder of The Porch, through which she hopes to give a little something back to her beloved hometown.


Our workshops are led by published writers with advanced degrees in writing (MA, MFA, or PhD), a strong track record of publication, and ample classroom experience. Some of us have worked with adults, some with youth, some with both, but each one of us is called to both write and teach, and we’re right here in the trenches with you, actively pursuing the craft of writing. We know intimately the rewards and challenges of the writing life, and we’re dedicated to sharing our enthusiasm and experience with writers at all levels, from total newbies and dabblers to folks working on MFA applications or book drafts. We bring an empathetic, constructive eye to our students’ work, and we aim to meet each student’s particular needs, making the pursuit of writing a rewarding one.

Our Leadership

Executive Roles:

Jessica Pearson (Board President): Penguin Random House

Whitney Haley (Board Treasurer): McKenzie Laird PLLC

John Lavey (Board Secretary): Hammock

Board Members:

Kim Bundy: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Cindy Oliva: Pinnacle Bank

Scott Chambers: independent real estate developer

Karen Hayes: Parnassus Books

Kendall Hinote: JKS Communications

Stephanie Koehler: Ingram Content Group

Korby Lenker: singer-songwriter and author of Medium Hero

Andrew Maraniss: author of Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South.

Sandy Solomon: Vanderbilt Creative Writing Program (associate director)