Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Fathers of the Holy Spirit

Madison Smartt Bell pleads for the preservation of crucial libraries in Haiti

March 30, 2010 When Madison Smartt Bell was researching his trilogy of novels about the struggle for Haitian independence, it took him ten years to find the materials he needed—and not because Google didn’t yet exist. “At the time that I got my first glimpse of it, the Haitian Library of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit had recently been unearthed from the hiding place it had occupied during the Duvalier regime,” he writes in an article in The Huffington Post. “The Spiritain fathers were prominent in the liberation theology movement, whose democratic activism made them enemies of the dictatorial state. Duvalier expelled them from Haiti in the sixties; the library was boxed, and effectively buried.”

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Ready, Set, Write

Ann Patchett sets the rules for NPR’s new fiction contest

March 27, 2010 Nashville novelist Ann Patchett has written probably a million words in her own career, but brevity is the soul of her new endeavor: Patchett will judge the fourth round of National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction” contest. As in the past, contestants must write a story that can be read aloud in less than three minutes without forcing Guy Raz to transform himself into an auctioneer. (That’s about 600 words, tops.) But this year Patchett has introduced a new wrinkle: all stories must contain the words, “plant,” “button,” “trick,” and “fly.”

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Humanities Tennessee welcomes Junot Diaz

What’s new in Tennessee books—and at Chapter 16—on March 25, 2010

Junot Diaz visits Tennessee, Silas House is invited to BEA for an award ceremony, Jay McInerney lifts a glass to The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Skloot heads home to Memphis (temporarily), and River Jordan hits the road on her Southern Wing and a Prayer tour.

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The Labyrinths of Memory

In Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, Mississippian Brad Watson returns to familiar territory—and reinvents it

Brad Watson‘s new collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, returns to the post-Faulkner, post-modern South of bleak strip malls, cheap motels, tacky Gulf Coast beaches, and lonely outposts surrounded by murky water, the faint odor of decay, and the ever-present specters of longing and loss. But despite the well-known milieu, these new stories demonstrate a mastery of the surreal that lifts them above the typical conventions of Southern Gothic. Brad Watson will be at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on March 30.

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You Say It's YA; I Say It's for Everyone

Darnell Arnoult interviews Silas House about his latest novel

March 25, 2010 Not every novel featuring a young protagonist is appropriate for young readers, but Silas House didn’t want to exclude anyone when he wrote Eli the Good. As House tells Darnell Arnoult, “I just wanted to write a book that anyone could read, so I made sure that it was suitable for high school and on up.” But an open-armed welcome to teen readers doesn’t mean the book is boring for adults, he adds.

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Moonlight and Macaroons

In The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Sarah Addison Allen stirs up a sweet froth of a mystery

Mullaby, North Carolina, is like many a small Southern town, complete with barbeque joints, eccentrics, and neighbors with long memories. The setting for author Sarah Addison Allen‘s latest novel, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Mullaby is a place where mysteries are so commonplace the town’s inhabitants have come to view them with an air of blasé acceptance. Allen will be in Nashville to read from her gentle new mystery at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on March 25 at 7 p.m.

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