It’s easy to fall in love with The Wren’s Nest. After eight years in Atlanta, I finally toured the house and its fairytale grounds and was instantly appalled that it took me so long to visit. It’s a gorgeous place. More than that, though, The Wren’s Nest is an invaluable resource to the community—their writing programs for kids are exactly what I wish I’d had around when growing up. Naturally, we had to include them in the @actualpants Instagram campaign. Here’s a look at their week.
The Wren’s Nest is the oldest house museum in Atlanta. It is the home of author Joel Chandler Harris, the writer of the Brer Rabbit stories. Harris heard those stories from the enslaved people on the plantation where he worked in Eatonton, Georgia during the Civil War. He was a printing press “devil” or apprentice. He eventually married and moved to Atlanta where he wrote for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Harris’ West End Atlanta home became known as The Wren’s Nest because of the wrens that would build their nest in his mailbox. The front porch of the house is where Harris wrote his popular Brer Rabbit stories, which have been translated into more than 40 languages. Harris was also a supporter of newly freed slaves learning to read — an unpopular sentiment at the time.
The Wren’s Nest helps to continues the legacy of Harris through tours of the home and the telling of the Brer Rabbit stories, which also continues the legacy of African American oral traditions. Our writing programs are a gift to the community, where we teach middle and high school students how to write their own stories and become published authors through The Wren’s Nest Publishing Company. Our backyard is used for events like weddings, festivals and jazz concerts. We’re always busy with tours, storytelling, programs and events. The Wren’s Nest welcomes visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Come see us sometime!
Busy week for The Wren’s Nest! We had a literary tour group from Australia, our regular tours and storytelling, our weekly workshop for our Scribes writing program at KIPP Strive Academy, photos taken for our KIPP Scribes book, meetings and prep for #AtlantaStreetsAlive, a walk through of the Hammonds House for our Brown Scribes book launch, a ceremony to commemorate 180 years of The West End community, #WSBTV came to cover us, and finally we were one of the hosts of Atlanta Streets Alive block party.
Here is Wren’s Nest Storyteller Mama Koku telling Brer Rabbit stories to a literary tour from Australia.
#Wren’sNest Program Director, Kalin Thomas, interviews Susannah Fullerton, President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.
Andy Lee takes photos of The #WrensNest Scribes and Mentors during their weekly writing workshop at KIPP Strive Academy. The Scribes are in 5th through 8th grades and when they finish their stories they will publish them in a book to be launched at the #DecaturBookFestival.
Wren’s Nest Executive Director, Sue Gilman, meets with Farmer’s Market vendors to prep for Atlanta Streets Alive.
5th grade KIPP Scribe, Jordyn, helps her fellow 5th grade Scribe, Emily with her story during writing lab at KIPP Strive Academy. And below, Program Director Kalin Thomas takes a “silly” break with the 7th grade KIPP Scribes: Tyrique, Jayla, Caleb and Kai.
Big day at The #WrensNest! On top we see volunteers from #Spelman help to prep signs for Atlanta Streets Alive. Below, WSB Reporter Carl Willis tours with Executive Director, Sue Gilman for a profile on WSB.com. Sue explains the stuffed animals given to The Wren’s Nest by Walt Disney: Br’er Bear, Tar Baby, Br’er Fox and Br’er Rabbit.
What a way to end last week: The #ATLStreetsAlive parade stops in front of The Wren’s Nest, with world-renown saxophonist #KebbiWilliams (red hat) blaring out tunes. On the bottom, college Students from the Ethics and the Arts Program silk screen t-shirts on the #WrensNest front porch. The T-shirts promote the SNAP program at Farmer’s Markets.
Natalia Castells-Esquivel is a writer from Mexico based in Atlanta. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published in places like Santo y Seña, Loose Change, and Thought Catalog. She is currently a copywriter, Editor of Community Engagement for RealPants, and cofounder of StoryDrop, a city-wide literature collaboration. Also, she makes really good scrambled eggs. Really.
Latest posts by Natalia Castells-Esquivel (see all)