Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Emily Choate

Chronicling Life and Death

Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three has received wide-ranging notice for Life After Death, his memoir about surviving eighteen years on death row

December 20, 2012 Another documentary about Damien Echols is set to open on Christmas Day: West of Memphis, which producer Peter Jackson has called “the most important film” he’s ever made. Meanwhile, Echols is still fighting for full exoneration, both for himself and for the other men convicted with him. This struggle for understanding is evident in the excruciating detail with which Echols writes about his time on death row. His emphasis on the torturous aspects of his experience (in both prison life and the poverty-wracked Southern childhood preceding it) is the aspect of the book that critics have most often highlighted in their reviews.

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Renovating the Fairy Tale

Mother-daughter duo Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams talk with Chapter 16 about fairy tales, writing across generational lines, and their new children’s novel, The Diary of B.B. Bright, Possible Princess

December 13, 2012 The New York Times bestselling author Alice Randall and her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, have joined forces to create the fairy-tale world of their first children’s novel, The Diary of B.B. Bright, Possible Princess. As a thirteen-year-old orphaned princess in hiding on fantastical Bee Isle, B.B. Bright faces a gamut of challenges: earning her godmommies’ good opinion, starting her own beeswax candle business, winning her way off the island by finding eight elusive princesses who hold the keys to her identity, and withstanding Bee Isle’s ultimate pass-fail: The Official Princess Test.

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A Prescription for Stillness

Silas House reminds writers of the crucial importance of focus

December 5, 2012 “Many of the aspiring writers I know talk about writing more than they actually write,” writes novelist and playwright Silas House in a new essay for The New York Times. House—who two years ago left Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, to teach at Berea College in Kentucky—argues that “too many writers today are afraid to be still.”

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Paper Anniversary

Nashville’s Parnassus Books celebrates a successful year

December 3, 2012 This week, running counter to common perception that books are dead in the digital era, Parnassus Books in Nashville celebrates its first anniversary as a thriving success. Co-owned by former Random House rep Karen Hayes and bestselling novelist Ann Patchett, Parnassus has garnered widespread attention since its opening was announced in 2011, leading to Patchett’s appearances everywhere from Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report to the front page of The New York Times.

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Entertaining Politics

John Meacham offers Barack Obama a slice of advice from Thomas Jefferson’s table

November 26, 2012 Writing for The New York Times’s Opinionator blog, John Meacham, Chattanooga native and author of the new biography, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, has some words of advice for President Obama during these thorny negotiations with Congress over the fiscal cliff. “Here is a modest proposal, one drawn from the presidency of another tall, cool, cerebral politician-writer,” Meacham writes. “Use the White House and the president’s personal company to attempt to weave attachments and increase a sense of common purpose in the capital.

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