Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“A View That Wasn’t There Before”

Book Excerpt: A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being

Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Small Revolution, No Other Kind of World, and A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Hardin will read from his work at Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville on November 18.

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The Things That Come for Us All

Ann Patchett’s essays consider the gifts of life and the inevitability of death

Nashville writer Ann Patchett’s second volume of essays, These Precious Days, can be enjoyed as a grab bag of personable pieces depicting her interesting life and times. But everyone who opens the book will also be confronted by serious, universal themes — the abundant gifts of life and the tragedy of its inevitable end. Patchett will discuss the book at a virtual event with novelist Amor Towles on December 7.

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“The Voice Is My Key”

Playwright and poet Dan O’Brien searches for meaning in the chaos of trauma

Dan O’Brien’s A Story That Happens, a collection of essays originally delivered as craft lectures at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, weaves observations on the art of playwriting with deeply personal memoir.

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I had no idea my father was capable of such complex treachery 

In over 30 years of travel abroad I’ve had ample opportunity to haggle for things in exotic markets. I learned the rules of haggling at a very young age, long before I departed my hometown of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, destined for hard-to-pronounce places at the tattered edges of a map. My father showed me exactly how to play this game, and my first lesson occurred about a mile from our house.

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Slow Violence, Then and Now

Rob Nixon discusses writers, activists, and the challenges of the Global South

In his award-winning book, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Princeton professor Rob Nixon looks at writer-activists and environmental justice across the Global South. Nixon will give the Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture, hosted online by the University of Memphis on November 18.

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Hard Honest Comedy

Padgett Powell’s new collection of nonfiction takes you inside the mind of an unconventional novelist

The essays in Padgett Powell’s Indigo, his first collection of nonfiction, introduce readers to the bizarre characters and brilliant prose that fans of his fiction have come to expect.

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