Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Radical Joy

In Alice Randall’s Black Bottom Saints, a dying man eulogizes the “Black Camelot” of mid-20th-century Detroit 

In Alice Randall’s fifth novel, Black Bottom Saints, a terminally ill columnist, club impresario, and dance school founder dictates tender hagiographies of the Black creatives who built and nurtured a thriving community in mid-20th-century Detroit. Randall will take part in the presentation of the 2021 John Egerton Prize, awarded by the Southern Foodways Alliance at an online session of the 2021 Southern Festival of Books on October 7.

Read more

The Whole of a Life

Bobbie Ann Mason gives her heroine a second life in Dear Ann

In her vibrant new novel, Dear Ann, Bobbie Ann Mason imagines the life that might have been for Ann Workman, a graduate student who pursues love and English literature against the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s. Bobbie Ann Mason will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books on October 9.

Read more

Fresh Soil in Old Territory

Ron Rash’s In the Valley displays his masterful command of short fiction  

From haunting, short-form meditations on loss to a thrilling, suspenseful novella that revives an indelible antihero, In the Valley offers a distillation of Ron Rash’s storytelling mastery at its best. Rash will discuss In the Valley at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books on October 9.

Read more

Open Secrets and Broken Promises

In David James Poissant’s Lake Life, a family’s farewell to their summer home leads to traumatic reckoning

In David James Poissant’s first novel, Lake Life, the Starling family gathers in their crumbling vacation home for one last weekend. Over 48 hours, long-buried secrets are revealed and lives are overturned. Poissant will discuss Lake Life at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

Read more

Love Letter to the Dollyverse

Sarah Smarsh’s She Come by It Natural pays unique tribute to Dolly Parton

Sarah Smarsh mixes music journalism and memoir in She Come by It Natural, which chronicles the life, career, and evolving cultural impact of Dolly Parton. Smarsh will discuss She Come by It Natural at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online Oct. 1-11.

Read more

Suffering in Coal Country

Chris Hamby recounts miners’ fight for health benefits in Soul Full of Coal Dust

Soul Full of Coal Dust by Nashville native Chris Hamby exposes the coal industry’s machinations to keep miners with black lung disease from getting modest compensation. Hamby, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

Read more