Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Sean Kinch

Tiny Dreams

To learn to soar, sometimes all it takes is a hero

November 5, 2012 While my friends played Nerf football in the street or debated Big Ten versus Southwest Conference defenses, I’d bike over to Gullett Elementary with my junior-sized basketballs and spend afternoons on the school’s asphalt courts accompanied only by the imaginative projections of my heroes. No one witnessed the games, but I never felt alone—not with the Phoenix Suns’ Walter Davis on my wing and Alvan Adams on the block, not playing defense against Havlicek’s Celtics or trying to match the ball-handling panache of the Knicks’ Walt Frazier. I’d check the box scores for my heroes—guys like David Thompson or Rick Barry—and then re-create their statistics, making the same number of field goals and free throws, high-fiving teammates when the game was complete.

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Across the Generations

Louise Erdrich’s new novel is a mystery, a coming-of-age-tale, and a microcosm of Indian-Anglo relations, all at once

October 2, 2012 Louise Erdrich does not fit into any pigeonhole. Her career, spanning three decades and twenty-six books, may once have belonged in the category of the “Native American renaissance” of the late-twentieth century, but that classification is now too restrictive. Her work, which still typically depicts Indians of the American Midwest, reaches toward the universal even as it remains rooted in the particulars of the lives of the Indians who were driven from traditional lands and into the dubious safety of reservations. On October 9 at 6:15 p.m., Louise Erdrich will discuss The Round House at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series. The event is free and open to the public.

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Captive Audience

The protagonist of Laura Lippman’s new thriller hasn’t moved as far beyond the past as she believes

October 6, 2010 Laura Lippman’s new crime novel, I’d Know You Anywhere, begins where most mysteries end. The killer has been caught and incarcerated; apparently, justice has been served. Twenty years after he raped and murdered a series of young women in suburban Washington, D.C., Walter Bowman sits on Death Row awaiting execution, his appeals finally exhausted. His last request is to make contact with the one girl he kidnapped but, unlike the unfortunate others, did not kill. Lippman will read from the novel at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on October 7 at 6 p.m.

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Feeding the Hope Machine

Salvatore Scibona, one of The New Yorker‘s new “20 Under 40” writers, talks with Chapter 16

September 23, 2010 In 2008, Salvatore Scibona’s first novel, The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award—a coup for its author and for its publisher, the tiny, nonprofit Gray Wolf Press. The NBA distinction helped propel sales of the novel, which has become a favorite of book clubs. Scibona’s burgeoning career received another boost in June, when The New Yorker named Scibona to its “20 Under 40” list of young writers who are bringing fresh voices to American fiction. Scibona will read from his work at 7 p.m. on September 23 in Buttrick Hall, Room 102, on the Vanderbilt University campus.

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Winesburg, Louisiana?

A splendid new story collection by M.O. Walsh takes its cue from Sherwood Anderson

September 13, 2010 In the hands of a less subtle writer, the premise of M.O. Walsh’s new collection of stories, The Prospect of Magic, could easily have resulted in hopeless kitsch. When the owner of The World Famous Ploofop Travelling Carnival dies suddenly, the carnies and circus acts find themselves stuck in Fluker, Louisiana, and forced to learn to live straight. What keeps these tales from devolving into material for a bad sitcom is the care with which Walsh details his characters’ inner turmoil. M.O. Walsh will read from his work at the Hodges Library on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on September 13 at 7 p.m.

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Padgett Powell returns with a novel written entirely in questions

July 15, 2010 Padgett Powell is a genius of American letters, a brilliant but eccentric writer who looms on the margins of the mainstream. After his first novel, Edisto (1984), won critical praise and an enthusiastic readership, his writing drifted into “surreal lines,” as he describes it, eschewing conventional plot and sympathetic characters for experiments in voice and form. After nine years of silence, Powell has returned with The Interrogative Mood, and readers may once again enjoy his trippy world play and skewed world view. He will give a free public reading at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference on July 18 at 8:15 p.m.

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