Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Saving What Remains

Poet Natasha Trethewey’s memoir revisits her Mississippi childhood and her mother’s violent death

In Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey returns to the love and pain of her childhood and the trauma of her mother’s murder. Trethewey will speak at East Tennessee State University on April 6.

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Doing the Work

Nikky Finney’s fifth poetry collection is an essential collage of life and art

Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, Nikky Finney’s first new collection in nearly 10 years, demonstrates how the National Book Award-winning poet continues to push herself and expand our idea of poetry’s scope. Finney will appear at the 2022 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, March 24-27.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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