Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

After Eudora

In an age of big-box retail and multi-ethnic migration, can a distinctly Southern literature survive?

A friend of mine spent his childhood “playing church” and arguing over whose turn it was to preach and whose to be saved. And a relative recently attended a wedding reception where the centerpiece was a whole hog, smoking away in a homemade smoker on a trailerbed still hitched to the pick-up truck. When the owner got mad about something or other, he got in and drove away, pulling the smoking hog on the trailer behind him. (More potato salad, anyone?) These stories are true, and funny, and Southern. But they are also potential fodder for some bad Southern fiction.

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Books and Breaking News

Chapter 16 begins publishing daily

April 1, 2010 When Humanities Tennessee launched Chapter 16 last October, we held our collective breath a bit, wondering whether there were enough book lovers to sustain a literary website even as newspapers around the state were cutting their books coverage or shuttering their book sections altogether.

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Dooce Goes to Washington

Heather Armstrong participates in White House forum on work-life balance

March 31, 2010 Today, on one day’s notice, mommy-blogger and Memphis native Heather Armstrong, author of It Sucked and Then I Cried, dropped everything and flew to D.C. at the invitation of the White House. Her role: to explain to the president of the United States how hard it is to be a working parent.

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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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