Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Liz Garrigan

Memphis Mourning

Sara Koffi’s fast-paced debut thriller packs commentary on racism, police brutality, and inequality

In her website bio, Memphis novelist Sara Koffi describes herself as a writer who likes to “humanize Black women by giving them space on the page” and “explore the nuances of ‘unlikeable female characters.’” She does both in her widely anticipated debut While We Were Burning, a thriller whose plot hinges on the killing of a Black teen. Sara Koffi will discuss the book at Novel in Memphis on April 16.

Read more

A Revolving Door of Death

Steven Hale lays bare the humanity of those condemned on Tennessee’s death row

Between 2018 and 2020, Tennessee state officials killed seven men by electrocution or lethal injection, more than any other state in the country except Texas. In Death Row Welcomes You, journalist Steven Hale tells the stories of the condemned and the people who have come to know and love them. He also exposes the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and the hypocrisy of Tennessee governors. Hale will discuss his book at Parnassus Books in Nashville on March 22 and Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on April 11.

Read more

Choice Poor

Julia Franks’ The Say So recalls a time when unwed mothers were hidden

Julia Franks’ second novel, The Say So, serves as a cautionary tale exploring the starkly different choices unwed mothers in the 1950s faced compared to those in the post-Roe 1980s. Her cross-generational narrative was inspired in part by her own unplanned pregnancy. Franks will appear at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville on June 14.

Read more

Wounded Eagle

Matthew Desmond’s new book dispels myths about poverty in America

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond’s Poverty, By America offers a persuasive case that we should all become “poverty abolitionists” who refuse to live as “unwitting enemies of the poor.” Desmond will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on March 20.

Read more

The City Of Light and Love

Edmund White talks with Chapter 16 about his dishy, sexy new memoir of life in Paris

FROM THE CHAPTER 16 ARCHIVE: “I hate writing,” Edmund White told a newspaper last year, but he has nevertheless been turning out celebrated titles since the 1970s, writing novels and nonfiction to wide acclaim and drawing on his life as a gay man for all but a handful of them. White moved from New York to Paris in 1983 and stayed in the City of Light for fifteen years, an experience he details in his latest book, Inside A Pearl: My Years in Paris.

Read more

Legendary Lady

Nashville author Ariel Lawhon’s latest is a masterful novel about an unsung World War II heroine

Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène, an exhaustively researched and vividly woven historical novel, introduces readers to unsung WWII heroine Nancy Wake, who led a thousand French Resistance fighters, became a critical Allied asset, and eluded the Nazis so effectively that she inspired the nickname “The White Mouse.” Lawhon will discuss the book at virtual events hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 2 and Novel in Memphis on February 9.

Read more