Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Todd Dills

A Writer’s Town

What can a fiction writer learn from a Nashville recording session?

“I spend a lot of time in the coffeehouses of East Nashville, where I live. “What do you do?’—the question has been posed to me countless times in idle conversation. My stock response, ‘I write,’ is invariably followed by some permutation of ‘What instruments do you play?'” Fiction writer Todd Dills considers what it means to build a literary community in a town full of songwriters. Dills will read from Triumph of the Ape on May 21, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Fat Bottom Brewery in Nashville. He will be joined by songwriter Mike Willis. This free event is part of the East Side Storytellin’ series, which pairs writers and musicians in performance.

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History Begins at Home

In The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation, John F. Baker Jr. uncovers the story of his own family—and the entire American experiment

July 20, 2012 When Joel F. Baker Jr. launched into what became a three-and-some-decades-long research project on the history of his family on his mother’s side, writing a book was most certainly the farthest thing from his thoughts. He was in the seventh grade, after all. But he was driven by a curiosity that never waned in subsequent years—a curiosity that girds the upbeat spirit of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation, a rare hybrid of oral history, traditional chronicle, and memoir. In it Baker brings alive both antebellum and post-bellum life on a quintessentially Middle Tennessee plantation, tightly weaving throughout the quality of urgency that has characterized his life’s pursuit. Baker will discuss The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation at the twenty-fourth annual Southern Festival of Books, held October 12-14 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. All events are free and open to the public.

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