Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Tina Chambers

Navigating Troubled Waters

Susan Crandall imagines an odd couple on a dangerous road trip through the racially divided South

July 3, 2013 Set against a backdrop of explosive civil-rights unrest, Susan Crandall’s Whistling Past the Graveyard follows nine-year-old Starla, who is white, and Eula, a young black woman who has stolen an abandoned white infant, on a strange odyssey that will challenge everything they believe about themselves and the people they love, and change their lives forever, if they manage to survive. Susan Crandall will appear at the Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on July 12, 2013, at 6 p.m., and at Parnassus Books in Nashville on July 13, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. She will be joined at Parnassus by novelist Karen White.

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Monsters and Memories

Fantasy-master Neil Gaiman presents a mythical view of childhood’s fears

July 2, 2013 “Standing in that hallway, it was all coming back to me. Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me. Had you told me that I was seven again, I might have half-believed you, for a moment,” says the adult narrator of the new novel by fantasy-master Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He is recalling a three-week school holiday in Sussex when he was seven years old, and the strange events that transpired—events both unforgettable and near-impossible to remember. Gaiman will appear at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on July 10 as part of the Salon@615 series. This will be Gaiman’s final author tour. Tickets are $30 and include a copy of the book. Click here for complete ticketing information.

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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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