Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Order of Masculinity

Brian Broome’s memoir rescues a childhood ended too soon

Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome is a Black, gay, coming-of-age memoir. Broome, a screenwriter and poet, recounts his formative years in Ohio and his subsequent escape. Against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s conservative America, the book presents scenes of Black boy initiation into the order of masculinity. Broome will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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A Right Guy

In Robert Olen Butler’s Late City, America’s last surviving WWI soldier reports his life story to God

In Late City, Robert Olen Butler imagines a deathbed dialogue between God and a 115-year-old man who happens to be America’s last surviving veteran of World War I. Butler will discuss Late City at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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The Miracle of Movement

A young dancer grapples with identity in The Archer

In Shruti Swamy’s novel The Archer, a young dancer named Vidya explores her identity as an artist and as a woman. She both conforms to and defies the traditional expectations of her gender and class, all while grappling with the desires of her body and mind and the raw ache of abandonment after the loss of her mother. Swamy will appear at a virtual session of the 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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Always Graceful

Margaret Renkl discusses her new essay collection, Graceland, at Last

Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South collects 60 of Margaret Renkl’s essays for The New York Times. Her fascinating explanations of the natural world are the standouts, but she also weighs in with authority on politics and culture. Renkl will discuss the book at a free ticketed event held in Harpeth Hall’s Frances Bond Davis Theater in Nashville on September 14, at a virtual event hosted by Novel in Memphis on September 16, and at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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The Granddaughters of Witches You Weren’t Able to Burn

Young women use magic to achieve vigilante justice

Erica Waters’ second novel, The River Has Teeth, tells the story of one girl’s search for her missing older sister and a witch’s quest to hide the monster she believes is responsible for the disappearance. Waters will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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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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