Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Maria Browning

“The Voice Is My Key”

Playwright and poet Dan O’Brien searches for meaning in the chaos of trauma

Dan O’Brien’s A Story That Happens, a collection of essays originally delivered as craft lectures at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, weaves observations on the art of playwriting with deeply personal memoir.

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The Story Beneath the Sprawl

Mastodons to Mississippians explores ancient Nashville

In Mastodons to Mississipians: Adventures in Nashville’s Deep Past, Aaron Deter-Wolf and Tanya M. Peres offer a brief, fascinating survey of the Nashville region’s rich archaeological record and a primer on the human communities that thrived there thousands of years before Timothy Demonbreun arrived. The book is also a plea for preservation of sites under threat from the city’s raging development boom, as well as a sobering acknowledgment of what has already been lost.

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Engaging Ontogeny—and Animal Sex

Michael Sims discusses biological and literary creativity

From the Chapter 16 archive: Where do babies come from? It may be a child’s question, but the answer is far from simple, especially if we consider the baby-making processes of the whole animal kingdom, as Michael Sims does in his companion to the National Geographic Channel’s television special of the same name, In the Womb: Animals. It features ultrasound images of fetal animals that are so detailed and vivid it’s almost hard to believe they aren’t simulations.

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Time Travel with McCarthy

An outdoor homage to Suttree and Knoxville’s past

On July 8 at Knoxville’s Lakeshore Park, “Suttree’s Knoxville: A Hymn to the Past in Film & Music” will combine live music, readings from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Suttree, and a film of archival footage to evoke a sense of the city as it was 70 years ago.

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The Spaces Between People

Corey Mesler shares a few thoughts on antiheroes, privacy, and prolificity

Memphis author and bookstore owner Corey Mesler talks to Chapter 16 about his latest novel and the challenges of running a small business during the pandemic.

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Eternal Questions, Evolving Answers

Alan Lightman explores the limits of knowledge in Probable Impossibilities

Alan Lightman’s latest essay collection, Probable Impossibilities is a mix of cutting-edge science, philosophical reflection, and storytelling that celebrates rational inquiry while respecting experiences of mystery and awe.

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