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Patrick Shaffner joined the Humanities Tennessee team in November of 2017. He serves as Program Officer for our Literature & Language Programs, including the Appalachian and Tennessee Young Writers' Workshops, Southern Festival of Books, Salon@615Letters About LiteratureStudent Reader Day events, and more.

Patrick took some time to answer a few questions about his experience and love of the humanities: 

  • How did you end up in the humanities nonprofit line of work?
    One day, while walking in an English forest, I happened upon a large rock. It had a sword protruding from its craggy topside. I approached cautiously. Upon inspection, I found the lustrous instrument to be obdurately lodged. I endeavored to free it and with a terrific tug the blade unsheathed itself of its granite scabbard. Thunderclaps greeted the sword's liberation and a voice called out to me, BEHOLD THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORKER IN HUMANITIES NONPROFITS.
  • What do you most look forward to in working for Humanities Tennessee?
    Currently, I'm looking forward to the rest of this fantastic staff departing our open office for the night so I can sit at my desk and repeat my name over and over in vain attempts to record a greeting for my voicemail box with a tone that conveys both professionalism and warmth. Beyond that, I'm excited to work with readers and writers in Tennessee as we explore the stories and ideas that, like the Mississippi River in the west and the Appalachian mountains in the east, give shape to our current state. 
  • What do you do for fun?
    A solid question no doubt inspired by that great exhortation from Kennedy, "Ask not what fun can do for you, ask what you can do for fun." I've found joy in attending concerts, watching films, travelling hither and thither, exploring the outdoors, eating and drinking, hanging with friends and family. I also teach and perform improvisational theater. If your idea of fun is watching folks extemporaneously pound the boards, let me know and I can snag you some tickets.
  • What might someone be surprised to know about you?
    That we have the same birthday.
  • Why/how are the humanities important in your life?
    Truth be told, I come from a long line of humans. As such, perhaps, I seem to have more than a modicum of curiosity as to what and how we were, are and can be. The humanities seems a good vehicle to explore such ponderings.