Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Ed Tarkington

Savage Lunacy, Comical Rage

Wells Tower talks with Chapter 16 about the tensions between fiction and journalism, his recent collaboration with painter John Currin, and his real opinion of chitlins

January 5, 2012 In 2009, Wells Tower exploded onto the American literary landscape with Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, one of the most widely acclaimed debut short-story collections in recent memory. With quirky characters ranging from downtrodden real-estate speculators and Gulf Coast aquarium enthusiasts to lovelorn carnival hands and pillaging medieval Vikings, Everything Ravaged dazzles with the delightful oddity of its settings and especially with Tower’s relentlessly inventive prose. His most recent work includes a series of scathingly satirical short-short stories written for a new coffee-table book of paintings by John Currin. Wells Tower will read from his work at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on January 12, 2012.

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Ribbons of Light

Anthony Doerr’s acclaimed Memory Wall is a graceful meditation on the power of the past

November 15, 2011 Anthony Doerr’s theme is not subtle. His newest story collection, Memory Wall, opens with an epigraph: “Life without memory is no life at all.” The questions raised by the book—How can experience and emotion be preserved for the millions of anonymous, outwardly unremarkable souls who nevertheless strive to live meaningfully? Are we doomed to be erased? What makes memory, and where does it reside?—loom over this haunting and entrancing collection of tales. On November 17 at 7 p.m., Anthony Doerr will read from his work in Buttrick Hall on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville. The event is free and open to the public.

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Don't Chase It, And It Will Come Back

In Nightwoods, Charles Frazier has written a tender love story, a taut thriller, and a worthy successor to Cold Mountain

September 26, 2011 Charles Frazier catapulted to fame in the late nineties thanks to the unlikely and extraordinary success of Cold Mountain. All of his work since has been characterized by the same patient plot development and gorgeously meticulous period detail. At the center of each of his novels are pairs of lovers separated by time and circumstance, each longing for the other, convinced that the love between them can somehow heal a soul damaged by the random cruelty of an unmerciful world. His new book, Nightwoods, is no exception. Frazier will appear at the 2011 Southern Festival of Books, held October 14-16 in Nashville. All events are free and open to the public.

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An Honest Woman

In Georgia Bottoms, Mark Childress delivers a comic sendup of small-town pretensions

August 26, 2011 Already pushing forty, Georgia Bottoms somehow remains the legendary bombshell of Six Points, Alabama, without missing a single Sunday service at the First Baptist Church, and despite a revolving-door cast of gentleman—including the pastor, the sheriff, a prominent judge, and a bank president—all of whom are devoted to her charms and completely unaware that they are not the only “caller” entertained by Miss Georgia in her garage-apartment boudoir. Mark Childress will read from his hilarious new novel, Georgia Bottoms, at the 2011 Southern Festival of Books, held October 14-16 in Nashville.

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Discovering the Story by Writing It

Michael Knight’s acclaimed World War II novel, The Typist, is released in a new paperback edition

August 22, 2011 In a conversation about his acclaimed novel The Typist, UTK creative-writing professor Michael Knight talks with Chapter 16 about taking on history, the Southern literary tradition, and living with a Roll Tide heart in Volunteer country. Knight will discuss The Typist at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on August 27 at 6 p.m.

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From Ahab to Akmaaq

John Minichillo’s The Snow Whale is a satirical retelling of Melville’s Moby-Dick

August 9, 2011 In his debut novel, The Snow Whale, MTSU creative-writing professor John Minichillo uses Melville’s Moby-Dick as a touchstone for a satirical juxtaposition of the trivialities of cubicle culture with the wilds of Northern Alaska, where men still hunt whales—to consequences both hilarious and unexpectedly moving. Today Minichillo talks with Chapter 16 about the challenges of imagining a traditional whale hunt, finding a venue for unconventional fiction in small-press publishing, and taking on the Great American Whale.

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