Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Susannah Felts

The Box of Hope

Memphis native Anna Olswanger has written a tiny but powerful book of Holocaust literature for middle-grade readers

March 6, 2013 Anna Olswanger’s new children’s book, Greenhorn, tells the story of Daniel, a young Polish Holocaust survivor who arrives at a Brooklyn yeshiva in 1946. He’s carrying nothing but a mysterious small tin box, the contents of which he refuses to reveal. For his silence, Daniel is the object of both cruelty and compassion from his American peers. A tiny book with an enormous heart, as heartbreaking as it is brief, Greenhorn is a poignant, powerful addition to the canon of Holocaust literature for young people.

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Reading City

Mayor Karl Dean is serious about getting Nashvillians to read—and talk about—great books

February 26, 2013 Last year saw the launch of the Nashville Reads program, which opened with Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a classic work of dystopian literature. This year Life of Pi by Yann Martel has been named the city’s “one book” selection, and a season of discussions and events pegged to the book will kick off with a reading and signing by Martel at the Nashville Public Library on March 2 at 3 p.m. Prior to the event, Karl Dean, mayor of Nashville, answered questions from Chapter 16 about his hopes for the citywide reading initiative.

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"The Highest Honor My Work Can Receive"

Novelists Hillary Jordan and Naomi Benaron talk with Chapter 16 about the importance of Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize

November 20, 2012 In 1999, the award-winning, bestselling novelist Barbara Kingsolver founded The Bellwether Prize, an award given biennially to an unpublished debut novel that addresses matters of social justice and responsibility. Carrying a $25,000 prize—funded entirely by Kingsolver herself—and a publishing contract, the Bellwether is “designed to be a career-founding event for writers with outstanding literary skills, moral passion, and the courage to combine these strengths in unusually powerful fiction,” as Kingsolver’s website puts it. Susannah Felts will interview Naomi Benaron and Hillary Jordan, two Bellwether winners, at Parnassus Books in Nashville on November 29 at 6:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

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A Family Web

In Nancy Jensen’s multigenerational novel, The Sisters, six women are guided by the past in ways they cannot imagine

October 10, 2012 An engrossing achievement in family narrative, Nancy Jensen’s The Sisters follows three generations of women, illuminating the way decisions—and secrets—can reverberate through decades, fundamentally shaping others’ lives in ways they may never fully understand. What emerges is a multigenerational family portrait that elegantly reveals its individual figures and allows them to reveal one another, while making deft leaps over broad sweeps of time and place. Nancy Jensen will discuss The Sisters at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books on October 14 at 2 p.m. in Legislative Plaza, Room 31. All festival events are free and open to the public.

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The Bitter Taste of Sugar

Attica Locke’s new literary thriller is much more than a murder mystery

September 25, 2012 The Cutting Season, the second literary thriller from Attica Locke, opens with a murder: the body of a sugarcane field worker, her throat slit, is found in a shallow grave on the grounds of Belle Vie, an antebellum plantation that’s now a tourist attraction and event site. Belle Vie’s manager, Caren Grey, grew up on the plantation grounds. But as clues about the murder begin to surface, Caren sees her vision of Belle Vie’s future, and her own shaky sense of security, begin to crumble. Attica Locke will discuss The Cutting Season at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books on October 12 at 2 p.m. in Conference Room 1A of the Nashville Public Library. All festival events are free and open to the public.

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Hopeless Dreamers

Jack Hitt goes in search of the defining American trait, and finds himself amid a bunch of adorable amateurs

September 7, 2012 There’s something heady about watching a pro wrangle with the definition of American identity. Almost as much as we love to reinvent ourselves, we love to reinvent the definition of ourselves, to give that narrative a fresh coat of paint. In Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, Jack Hitt puts himself to this uber-American task, making a lively and ultimately convincing argument about amateurism as a mainstay of American identity. Hitt will discuss Bunch of Amateurs 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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