Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

A World in Black and White

Maryville author Rhonda Lynn Rucker’s new YA novel examines racial conflict in 1960s Birmingham

“It was a bitch growing up in Birmingham. Unless you were white. And Earl B. Peterson wasn’t white,” writes Maryville author Rhonda Lynn Rucker in her young adult novel, Welcome to Bombingham. Rucker shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and unchecked violence that plagued the black community in early 1960s Birmingham, Alabama.

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A Mystery in Red Hook

James McBride returns with a tale about a shooting gone wrong in late-60s Brooklyn

In James McBride’s Deacon King Kong, a hard-drinking, hallucinating Baptist deacon known as Sportcoat shoots the ear off a notorious drug dealer in broad daylight, and an aging cop and an Italian mobster try to save Sportcoat from meeting his end in the housing projects of Red Hook Brooklyn. 

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The Age of Clinton

Presidential scholar Michael Nelson assesses the political landscape of the 1990s

In Clinton’s Elections, Michael Nelson provides an in-depth examination of the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, explaining how they drove the Democratic Party toward the political center and previewed our own era of extreme polarization. Nelson will discuss the book at Novel in Memphis on March 15.

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Moments in the Hunger

Novelist Louise Erdrich draws from her own family history for The Night Watchman

Drawn from her own family history, Louise Erdrich’s stirring new novel, The Night Watchman, unfolds around dedicated Chippewa tribal councilman Thomas Wazhushk, who enlists the help of many in his community to fight encroaching legal threat to their tribe’s survival. 

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“Heaven Hill”

Book Excerpt: Mustard, Milk, and Gin

Megan Denton Ray received her M.F.A. from Purdue University, where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets prize. Her debut collection, Mustard, Milk, and Gin, is the winner of the 2019 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize, sponsored by Hub City Press. She currently lives and teaches in Chattanooga.

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Creatures of the Underworld

Michael Farris Smith’s Blackwood depicts small-town Mississippi as a forest of evil

A valley covered in kudzu conceals a town’s dark secrets in Michael Farris Smith’s fifth novel, Blackwood. After two strangers arrive, unimaginable horrors begin to creep from the shadows. Smith will discuss Blackwood at Novel in Memphis on March 11.

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