Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Tina Chambers

The Epiphany of the Holy and the Absurd

J.M. Blaine writes about his life as a mental-health interventionist and unconventional Christian

June 12, 2013 Early in his new memoir, Nashville author J.M. Blaine responds with humor when asked about his job as a late-night crisis counselor: “I’ve made tens of dollars in mental health,” he says, pointing to his battered Saturn. But the truth is more complex, and Midnight, Jesus & Me is a powerful work of creative nonfiction that describes Blaine’s own unusual spiritual journey.

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Valley of Second Chances

A spirit-filled campground is the setting for Raymond L. Atkins’s comic novel

May 31, 2013 Raymond L. Atkins’s third novel and winner of the 2011 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction, Camp Redemption, tells the story of Early Willingham, a mild-mannered mechanic with a fondness for Schlitz malt liquor, and his clairvoyant sister, Ivey. Filled with colorful characters and quaint locales, Camp Redemption is a gentle comic meditation on the surprising things that can happen when we reach out a hand to those in need. Raymond L. Atkins will discuss the novel at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on June 6, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

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Seeing What’s Essential

Robert Benson writes a poignant meditation on caring for an aging parent

May 8, 2013 The only people who don’t love Robert Benson’s mother, the author writes in this memoir, “are the ones who have not met her yet.” Benson has written many books about the contemplative life and teaches prayer and writing workshops around the country. His beloved mother, Peggy Jean Siler Benson, is the mother of five children, widow of a former pastor, and a successful writer and speaker in her own right. Moving Miss Peggy is Benson’s poignant book about “the beginning of the end of her life.” Robert Benson will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 16 at 6:30 p.m.

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Great Stories Live Here

Chapter 16 hits Chattanooga for the seventeenth biennial Celebration of Southern Literature

May 6, 2013 “Being Southern is something you just are,” novelist Elizabeth Spencer said at last month’s Celebration of Southern Literature: “I couldn’t turn it off if I tried. And I never tried.” Held April 18-20 in Chattanooga and sponsored by the Southern Lit Alliance (formerly the Arts & Education Council), this year’s gathering—the seventeenth biennial—included participation by more than twenty-five members of the Fellowship, who handed out ten awards for fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama, including the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley.

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The Persistence of Memory

John Boyne re-imagines the last days of the Romanovs

April 16, 2013 When Georgy Daniilovich Jachmenev impulsively steps in front of a bullet meant for the Tsar’s cousin, he is rewarded by being whisked from his miserable existence in the squalid village of Kashin to the glorious Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II during the last days of the centuries-old Romanov dynasty. John Boyne will discuss The House of Special Purpose—a novel of love, regret, and nearly unbearable loss—at Parnassus Books in Nashville on April 24 at 6:30 p.m.

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The Many Guises of Cowardice and Courage

Memphis author Cary Holladay has written a lyrical new collection of stories that spans generations

March 13, 2013 Cary Holladay’s lyrical new collection of linked stories, Horse People, follows various members of a prosperous family in Orange County, Virginia, from the Civil War through World War II and beyond. Holladay crafts small, intimate portraits of her characters as they confront timeless themes of birth and death, compassion and cruelty, memory and loss, and the many guises of both cowardice and courage. She will read from and sign copies of Horse People at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on March 22 at 5:30 p.m., and in Buttrick Hall, Room 101, on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville on March 28 at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

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