Kim Trevathan set to retire

Jay FitzBlount, Our Town Outdoors

Kim Trevathan can’t see a river from his office window on the third floor of Maryville College’s Anderson Hall, but he hears it calling sometimes.

Trevathan, a professor of writing communication at MC, will retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic year, having spent more than two decades teaching at Maryville College.

He is the author of four books — Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water (2001), Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland (2006), Liminal Zones: Where Lakes End and Rivers Begin (2013) and Against the Current: Paddling Upstream on the Tennessee River (2021).

“I started looking at maps and saw that the Little River flows into the Tennessee River, and where did that go? All the way to Murray, my hometown. And that’s when I thought a canoe trip all the way from here to Murray might make a good book idea. So I bought a canoe and got really serious about using it as a tool for writing, and that trip was part of what got me into outdoor writing.”

He freelanced as an outdoor columnist for both Metro Pulse and the Knoxville Mercury.

“When people would see me out fishing, or with a boat on my car, they’ll always ask, ‘Are you taking some time off?’ And I always tell them, ‘No, this is my work!’” he said.

“That’s also the thing about narrative nonfiction that I love. For example, the last book I wrote, I went to the Knox County Humane Society and got Maggie — who was a two-month-old puppy at the time — and took her on the journey a few months later, knowing there would be all kinds of drama. I liked the whole planning of the trip and thinking about it but not knowing everything and not knowing what’s around the next bend. That’s what gives you the material to write a good story when you get back.”

Steve Wildsmith, assistant director of communications at Maryville College, provided information for this story.


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