Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Tina Chambers

Our Own True Selves

In a novel for middle-grade readers, Silas House and Neela Vaswani invent a pair of pen pals whose letters bridge their cultural divide

February 9, 2012 Same Sun Here, a new middle-grade novel by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, examines what happens when people find a way to overcome social barriers and make a real connection to another person—no matter how “other” the other may seem. In the process, the authors suggest, they might find that the things which unite them—love for family, dreams for the future, and a belief in the necessity of justice and compassion for all—are greater than the circumstances which separate them.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

William B. Jones Jr. presents the second edition of his exhaustive history of Classics Illustrated

January 10, 2012 The publication of the first edition of Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History in 2001 was met with great appreciation among fans of mid-century comic books and comic-book artists. In the second edition, William B. Jones Jr. has incuded more than a hundred additional pages of historical facts, interviews, photos, and illustrations from the original comics, including full-color plates of iconic covers in the series. Jones calls them “as much a part of growing up in postwar America as baseball cards, hula hoops, Barbie dolls, or rock ‘n’ roll.”

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The Triumph of Rationality

Michael Sims introduces a fascinating cast of Victorian detectives—both real and imagined

January 4, 2012 Michael Sims’s new collection of Victorian detective stories, The Dead Witness, is a cornucopia of dastardly delights and surprises. Watching the characters patiently unravel knots and ingeniously solve puzzles provides the delight. The surprises are the depth and breadth of variety represented in Sims’s overview of the genre. Humor and pathos, moralism and mercy, parody and tragedy, horror and retribution—the full spectrum of the human psyche is on display in this collection. The international cast of characters features authors and protagonists alike from England, Scotland, Australia, Canada, France, and the United States. They include a mild-mannered Catholic priest and a tough-talking Virginian, a folksy Canadian tracker and a wide-eyed teenaged boy, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, a blind man, a Musketeer, a bumbler, a dilettante, and, of course, that curiously observant Englishman with a penchant for violins and opium.

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To Be a Writer, and To Live in the World

The Meacham Writers’ Workshop gives students and visitors—and writers—a chance to talk to each other

November 14, 2011 It’s not every day that attendees at a poetry reading are asked whether they mind being filmed by an MTV camera crew, but that’s what happened at the opening event of last month’s Meacham Writers’ Workshop in Chattanooga. The reading was held at Chattanooga State Community College, where one of the stars of MTV’s reality show “Teen Mom” is a student. It was an unusual beginning to a three-day conference that is itself unique. The Meacham workshop is held twice each year, primarily on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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Kevin, Meet Nicole

Now that Nicole Kidman has acquired the rights to The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson is beginning to wonder if he might’ve written the whole novel just for the chance to meet her

November 11, 2011 The news that Nicole Kidman, Nashville’s resident movie star, had acquired the rights to The Family Fang, the debut novel by Sewanee’s resident bestselling fiction writer, comes as a surprise to no one who’s read this very cinematic novel about the troubled adult children of two passionate performance artists. (Kidman plans to play the role of Annie Fang.) It comes as news to no one except, perhaps, the book’s author, Kevin Wilson. Chapter 16 caught up with Wilson at the Meacham Writers’ Workshop in Chattanooga and asked him about the movie news:

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Family is Forever

Patricia’s McKissack’s Never Forgotten offers children an honest yet gentle introduction to the painful subject of slavery

October 18, 2011 Author Patricia McKissack and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon have created a children’s picture book about slavery that is neither maudlin nor depressing. Instead it is brave, heart-rending, visually breathtaking, truly magical, and filled with a deep wisdom that will resonate with anyone who has wrestled with pain and grief. Never Forgotten is an exquisitely hopeful, healing gift.

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