Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Alice Randall

Out of Safe Hiding

When a judge stopped the presses on Alice Randall’s first novel, Shelby Foote came to her aid

In 2001, when Shelby Foote was one of the writers who wrote to a Georgia judge on my behalf, I was surprised. Having Shelby Foote take my side against the Margaret Mitchell estate was a little like having Ashley take sides against Scarlett with an unacknowledged but not unborn daughter of Mammy’s. Of all the writers who stood with me—Toni Morrison, Pat Conroy, Harper Lee, Ishmael Reed, John Egerton, Tony Earley, Michael Kreyling, Larry McMurtry, and Arthur Schlesinger among them—no one had more to lose than Shelby Foote.

Read more

Making Beautiful Stories

The Southern Festival of Books is a lot like the state fair—but better

October 9, 2015 Twenty-seven years ago, if you had asked me about the best time to visit Nashville, I would have said the second weekend in October—the weekend of the Southern Festival of Books. It’s a guaranteed good time. Rain or shine. At the festival, just showing up to hear the same author is considered invitation enough to engage your seatmate in conversation. Attending the Southern Festival of Books is the closest a visitor can come to being an instant insider in Nashville, where the New South begins. If you asked me that question today, I would say the same damn thing.

Read more

Celebrating Proud Black Women

Alysia Burton Steele’s portraits of long-lived black women in the Mississippi Delta explodes contemporary notions of beauty

July 21, 2015 Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels is quite obviously part autobiography, part biography, part photography book, and part autograph book. But it is the less obvious parts—Steele’s critique of prevailing beauty aesthetics and her exploration of the intimate lives of long-lived black women—that dazzle. She will discuss the book at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 9-11, 2015. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Read more