Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Among the Pollinators

For Tennessee writers, our environment’s fate hinges on unearthing the truth about where we stand

When I look across Tennessee’s literary ecosystem, I see how many of our writers feel compelled to write about their relationship to the land. Some have intertwined their literary vision with an environmental mission. Others have devoted their work to excavating truths about our history that have lain buried for too long.

Read more

“The holiday / of catastrophe …”

Book Excerpt: Our Cancers

Dan O’Brien’s Our Cancers chronicles the year and a half during which both he and his wife, actor and writer Jessica St. Clair, were treated for cancer. O’Brien is the author of three previous poetry collections and the recipient of many playwriting honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two PEN America Awards. His essay collection A Story That Happens: On Playwriting, Childhood, & Other Traumas was published in 2021. He has served on the faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference for more than a decade.

Read more

Vilified and Celebrated

Charles Hughes situates hip-hop star Bushwick Bill in the history of race, sex, disability, and national politics

In Why Bushwick Bill Matters, Charles Hughes explains the impact of an iconic hip-hop artist. He roots the story in both his academic training as a historian and his personal experience as person of short stature.

Read more

A Tale of Two Women

A nurse and a teacher from different eras follow similar paths in The Light of Luna Park

Addison Armstrong’s debut novel, The Light of Luna Park, is a deft fusion of fiction and the facts about a startling moment in medical history, when a project to save premature infants became an amusement park sideshow.

Read more

Such a Solitary Thing

Lucy Barton returns in Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William!

With Oh William!, novelist Elizabeth Strout delivers a tour de force on the mysteries of what it means to be human. Strout will appear in conversation with Susan Orlean and Ann Patchett at a virtual event on October 20 as part of the Salon@615 series.

Read more

Always a Circling Back

Jesse Graves’ Said-Songs explores the mysteries of poetry and place

East Tennessee poet Jesse Graves’ Said-Songs, a collection of essays, reviews, and interviews, evokes the author’s rural childhood to engage with the poetry of Appalachia, roots music, and the varied meanings of place.

Read more