Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Looking Back on 50 Years of Tennessee Books

50 Books / HT50, Part 6: 2000-2005

The books in this installment of the 50 Books / HT50 series are a varied lot — two novels, one nonfiction book, and two poetry collections, including a Pulitzer Prize winner. All the authors have strong ties to the South, however, and two are Tennessee natives.

Chapter 16 was launched in 2009, a few years after the particular titles below were published, but you’ll find coverage of all these authors on the site. We interviewed Claudia Emerson in 2010, and poet Jeff Hardin wrote a remembrance his friend Wilmer Mills after Mills’ death from cancer in 2011. Robert Hicks talked with Chapter 16 about his passion for historic preservation in 2011, and Michael Sims has contributed a number of essays. There’s abundant coverage of William Gay at Chapter 16, including a collection of tributes from other authors after his death in 2012, and a previously unpublished story by Gay appeared on the site in 2013.

Learn more about the 50 Books / HT50 project here, and go here to see all the project posts to date.

Provinces of Night by William Gay, a native of Hohenwald. The book, Gay’s second novel, was adapted for a film, Bloodworth, in 2010. (Doubleday, 2000)

Light for the Orphans, the first full-length collection by poet Wilmer Mills, who received B.A. and M.A. in theology from the University of the South and made his home in Sewanee until his death in 2011. (Story Line Press, 2002)

Adams Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, the second book by Crossville native and longtime Nashville resident Michael Sims. (Viking, 2003)

The Widow of the South, the debut novel by Robert Hicks, who made his home in Williamson County for more than 40 years and was a dedicated advocate for historic preservation there. (Warner Books, 2005)

Late Wife by Claudia Emerson, a Virginia native who was a member of the Chattanooga-based Fellowship of Southern Writers and frequently served on the faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Late Wife won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2006. (LSU Press, 2005) 


Looking Back on 50 Years of Tennessee Books

Humanities Tennessee is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Founded in 1973, we continue to develop ways to connect, learn, and grow as a community.

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