Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Sara Beth West

The Right to Decide

Take My Hand considers a terrible injustice fueled by prejudice and good intentions

Inspired by true events in 1970s Alabama, Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s third novel, Take My Hand, gives voice to a Black physician at the end of her career who can’t be at peace until she shares the story of two girls victimized by racism and the arrogance of good intentions. Perkins-Valdez will discuss Take My Hand at Novel in Memphis on May 7.

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A Tender, Honest Narrative

Tara Stringfellow’s Memphis weaves a family’s complex stories

Tara M. Stringfellow’s debut novel Memphis opens with the North family tree, simply but beautifully designed. We can’t know where this family is going to take us, but we know there will be complexity and depth. A family tree contains multitudes. Stringfellow will celebrate the book’s release at Novel in Memphis on April 5.

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A Beautiful Exhibit

Lisa Russ Spaar’s Madrigalia curates her rich body of work

In Madrigalia, poet Lisa Russ Spaar demonstrates a deft hand and a careful eye as she combines selections from an oeuvre spanning more than 20 years. Spaar will read from her work at Vanderbilt University’s Buttrick Hall on February 17.

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Not as Different as We Think

Elizabeth Passarella on being a “muddled mashup of everything”

Raised in a conservative corner of Memphis, Elizabeth Passarella now makes her home in New York City, and Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York tells her story: of moving to the city, getting married, becoming a Democrat, and raising a family, all while maintaining her unquenchable Christian faith.

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So Many Stories to Be Told

Ruta Sepetys on her passion for sharing underrepresented history

With her latest novel, I Must Betray You, award-winning YA author Ruta Sepetys returns to the difficult task of telling an unfamiliar story from history: the struggles of people living under the brutal Ceaușescu regime in Romania in the late 1980s. She’ll discuss the book with Alan Gratz at a ticketed virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on February 1.

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The Humanity in Every Person

Paper Bullets tells the story of an extraordinary pair of resistance fighters

In Paper Bullets: Two Women Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis, Rhodes College historian Jeffrey H. Jackson has captured one of those stories from the edges of World War II, and the result is a fascinating examination of community and resistance, gender and sexuality, and what it means to recognize the humanity in every person.

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