Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Margaret Renkl

Skloot & Peelle, Plus Poetry

What’s new in Tennessee books—and at Chapter 16—on November 12, 2009

This week, Memphis writer Rebecca Skloot lands on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly, Nashville writer Lydia Peelle travels to Brooklyn to be honored at the National Book Association’s “5 Under 35” celebration, and Chapter 16 introduces its poetry collection.

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To Justify the Ways of God to Man, 21st-Century Style

William Paul Young discusses the phenomenal success of his bestseller, The Shack

In 2005, William Paul Young was living in a tiny rented house with his wife and six children and working as a “general manager, janitor and inside sales guy” for a friend’s small business. Then he wrote a novel about a man who falls into despair after his young daughter disappears, only to meet God himself—or herself, actually—in the shack where the child was murdered. Life for Young has not been the same. The Shack is now a mega-bestseller, with over 10 million copies in print. On The New York Times list for seventy-six consecutive weeks—forty-nine of them in the number-one slot—the book has been translated into thirty-four languages, selling more than a million copies in Brazil alone. In advance of his Nashville appearance on November 14, Young recently answered a few questions from Chapter 16 about his book.

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What’s new in Tennessee books—and at Chapter 16—on November 5, 2009

This week, Richard Bausch brings the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize home to Memphis, the Vanderbilt MFA Creative Writing program earns a Top 20 ranking, Chapter 16 launches a podcast, and that’s just for starters.

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Another Mother's Day

John Carter Cash writes a new tribute—this time a picture book for children—to his mother June

John Carter Cash is Grammy-winning music producer. He has worked on albums by virtually everyone in the Nashville pantheon—stars like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, and John Prine—but he’s still best known as the only child of Johnny Cash and June Carter. In 2007, Cash published a biography of his mother, Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash, and earlier this year he brought out a children’s book inspired by her, as well. He talks with Chapter 16 about his mother, his wife, his children—and his next book.

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The Prize in the Cereal Box

A Nashville nanny enters a Cheerios contest … and wins a publishing contract

Nashville nanny Shellie Braeuner didn’t learn about the first Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Children’s Book Contest until the final day to enter. Undaunted, she came up with a charming rhyme about bathing the family dog and entered the contest online, barely in time to pick up the older children from school. Despite a typo in the title, The Great Dog Wash beat out a thousand other entries to win the grand prize—five thousand dollars and the chance at a hardcover publishing contract.

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Welcome to Chapter 16, an online journal about the literary side of life in Tennessee. There’s a certain irony in the whole concept of a website devoted to celebrating books. (Wags might claim there’s also an irony in the concept of a literary life in Tennessee.) The Internet can be a dispiriting place, where total cranks and nincompoops effortlessly assume the mantle of authority, and anonymous comments savage the most enlightened points of view. Internet publications tend to be instantaneous and often incompletely considered — the very opposite of a book. Plus, it’s a sensory wasteland, lacking the satisfying heft of a book, the rustle of pages, the lovely scent of glue and ink.

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