Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Hardship as Possibility

Contemporary Appalachian writers profile one another in Step into the Circle

Step into the Circle brings together Appalachian writers and photographers to profile some of the region’s beloved literary forces. Contributors Silas House, Lee Smith, Jason Kyle Howard, Wiley Cash, and Mallory Cash will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Grief, Guilt, and Greed

Communing with the dead is good business in Helene Dunbar’s Prelude for Lost Souls

“St. Hilaire was all about guiding the living through contact with the dead,” explains 17-year-old Russ in Helene Dunbar’s new young adult novel, Prelude for Lost Souls. “We simply relayed the words of the dead to those who needed to hear them.” Russ is one of three troubled teens whose lives intersect one summer in a mysterious New York town. Dunbar will discuss the book at YA-hoo Fest, an online celebration of young adult literature hosted by the Southern Lit Alliance in Chattanooga, September 14-17.

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The Whole of a Life

Bobbie Ann Mason gives her heroine a second life in Dear Ann

In her vibrant new novel, Dear Ann, Bobbie Ann Mason imagines the life that might have been for Ann Workman, a graduate student who pursues love and English literature against the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s. Bobbie Ann Mason will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Unspoken Prayers

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips weaves a transcendent tapestry of stories in Sleepovers

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips’ debut story collection, Sleepovers, is set in the rural northeast corner of North Carolina where she was born and raised. Steeped in the specificities of place, her characters display plainspoken charm and a desperate sense of longing. Phillips will discuss Sleepovers with George Singleton at a virtual event hosted by Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on September 28 and will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Making Sunshine, Nurturing Change

Acclaimed children’s author Renée Watson talks about inspiration, collaboration, and activism

Renée Watson’s Ways to Make Sunshine is the first in a new chapter book series for young readers. Watson will discuss the book at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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The Past Rising Up

Randall Kenan’s If I Had Two Wings returns to Tims Creek

In Randall Kenan’s new story collection, If I Had Two Wings, the residents of Tims Creek, North Carolina, often find themselves in bewildering circumstances, caught up in twists of fate that demand an unrehearsed response. 

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