Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Ed Tarkington

"I Dream it Every Night"

In her charming memoir, Every Day by the Sun, Dean Faulkner Wells gives flesh and blood to the memory of William Faulkner—and of the Oxford of old

April 20, 2011 When Dean Faulkner Wells was thirteen, she attended the premier of Intruder in the Dust at the Lyric Theatre in Oxford, Mississippi, with her family. With the spotlight shining on William Faulkner, Wells came to a dawning understanding of her uncle’s role in literature—and in the world. Now the author of a new memoir, Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi, she talks with Chapter 16 about William Faulkner’s literary legacy, how her extended family wrestled with the Civil Rights movement, and why Cormac McCarthy should win the Nobel Prize. Wells will present a slide show and discuss Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on April 21 at 5 p.m.

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Architect of the Absurd

Tom Perrotta talks with Chapter 16 about bringing page to screen, the future of reading and writing, and the delicate art of dissecting the culture wars

March 10, 2011 Few contemporary novelists can match Tom Perrotta’s gift for skewering the delusions and pretensions of suburbia. From his breakthrough novel Election, a vicious send-up of a high-school campaign for student-body president; through the acclaimed Little Children, about a stay-at-home dad’s unlikely affair with another mom; to The Abstinence Teacher, a pointed and frequently hilarious satire in which a high-school sex-education teacher butts heads with the evangelical right, Perrotta maintains a generous sympathy for the poor souls forced to navigate the calamities of suburban life. He answered questions from Chapter 16 prior to his appearance at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on March 17 at 7 p.m. in Wilson Hall, Room 126.

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The Magnificence of Pain

In The Illumination, Kevin Brockmeier imagines a world in which suffering becomes incandescent

February 7, 2011 In the world we wake up to every day, even when the sight of a body in pain is riveting, the image nevertheless arouses a compulsive cringe. But what if we woke up instead to a world in which bodily trauma was somehow made, literally, beautiful? In The Illumination, novelist Kevin Brockmeier imagines a world in which all pain glimmers and shines, transforming the very nature of suffering. Brockmeier will read from and discuss The Illumination at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on February 7 at 6 p.m.

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Big Enough to Block Out the Sun

Michael Knight’s rich new novel The Typist is much more than the sum of its parts

December 29, 2010 At 185 pages, Michael Knight’s new novel, The Typist, could easily be considered a novella or even a long story—unsurprising, given that Knight has earned his greatest acclaim as an author of short stories. But despite its brevity, The Typist encompasses a variety of richly drawn characters, themes, and emotions typically associated with much longer, denser, more ostensibly “ambitious” novels. In this small book, Knight manages to veer through a variety of complications involving love, betrayal, black-market intrigue, and political maneuvering, all set against the backdrop of Japan’s national humiliation during the occupation years following World War II. The book appears on The Huffington Post‘s top-ten list of the best novels of 2010.

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What's Left of Memory

In a new book of criticism, Michael Kreyling challenges perceptions of Southern identity

December 26, 2010 What is the South, and who owns its memory? At the core of the question, renewed in Michael Kreyling’s The South That Wasn’t There: Postsouthern Memory and History, is the conflict between an idealized cultural “memory” of the South as it appears in the iconic Gone With the Wind, and the grim, brutal realities of Southern history that haunt the characters of Toni Morrison’s 1987 masterpiece, Beloved.

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Bard of the Burdened South

Ron Rash chronicles the many troubles of the Appalachian poor

October 27, 2010 With his new collection of short fiction, Burning Bright, Ron Rash offers a scaled-down version of the same concerns on display in his bestselling novel, Serena, employing a sweeping cast of characters and historical milieus, ranging from the Civil War era to the present day. Ron Rash opens the 2010-11 Lipscomb University Landiss Lecture Series on October 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Doris Swang Chapel of the Ezell Center on the Lipscomb University campus. A reception follows the program with a book signing. Admission is free.

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