Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Sean Kinch

Empty Children

In The Prophets, debut novelist Robert Jones Jr. reimagines the slave narrative

The plantation at the center of Robert Jones Jr.’s The Prophets is called Empty, but this bold and poetic slave story is replete with passionate characters and disturbing events. Jones will discuss The Prophets at a 2021 Southern Festival of Books virtual event on September 30.

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A Right Guy

In Robert Olen Butler’s Late City, America’s last surviving WWI soldier reports his life story to God

In Late City, Robert Olen Butler imagines a deathbed dialogue between God and a 115-year-old man who happens to be America’s last surviving veteran of World War I. Butler will discuss Late City at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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The Yawning Gap

Mary Adkins’ Palm Beach probes the ethics of the ultra-rich

In Mary Adkins’ third novel, Palm Beach, a journalist and an actor from New York learn about the eccentricities of the ultra-wealthy when they start working for billionaires in South Florida.

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Poor, Forked Animals

In The Speaking Stone, Michael Griffith considers the contingent nature of existence

In The Speaking Stone, a collection of essays, Michael Griffith ambles among the gravestones of a Cincinnati cemetery to track the subtle ways history intersects with individuals. He reminds us, in light-hearted prose, that pride and ambition lead inexorably to oblivion.

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Freedom from Delusion

Joan Silber’s characters stumble through work, family, and romance in Secrets of Happiness

In seven interlocking chapters, Joan Silber’s novel Secrets of Happiness dramatizes the lives of characters at crossroads that force reassessments of values. Silber will discuss the novel at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 6.

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The Land of Missing Things

In C Pam Zhang’s debut novel, orphaned siblings struggle to survive in the unforgiving American West

In C Pam Zhang’s debut novel, How Much of These Hills Is Gold, Lucy and Sam, orphaned siblings of Chinese laborers, fend for themselves in the barren hills of the American West in the aftermath of the gold rush. Zhang will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books on April 12.

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