Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Crafts of Freedom

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Mountaintop speech was more than brilliant rhetorical art; it was also the culmination of a lifetime spent in intense and extensive reading

April 2, 2015 We rightly associate Martin Luther King Jr.’s oratorical eloquence with his vocation as a Baptist minister, following his father and grandfather before him. But King also emerged from the rhetorical tradition of the liberal arts, transforming the sources with which he engaged throughout his too-brief life.

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Much-Needed Reckonings

An accidental food writer looks for lessons from the canon

Maybe part of a food writer’s job is to contribute to much-needed reckonings, whether the topic is race, food justice, climate change, workplace inequity … or genocide and disappearing cultural memory. In that sense, maybe nothing is food writing. Maybe everything is.

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A Vessel for the Story

Alice Faye Duncan’s books chronicle Black perseverance, past and present

Two new nonfiction books for children by Memphis writer Alice Faye Duncan illuminate “what it means to be free.” Duncan will lead a free virtual workshop for aspiring picture book creators on January 17.

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Among the Pollinators

For Tennessee writers, our environment’s fate hinges on unearthing the truth about where we stand

When I look across Tennessee’s literary ecosystem, I see how many of our writers feel compelled to write about their relationship to the land. Some have intertwined their literary vision with an environmental mission. Others have devoted their work to excavating truths about our history that have lain buried for too long.

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A Larger Suitcase

Rickie Lee Jones recalls her family and career in Last Chance Texaco

Rickie Lee Jones’ memoir looks back at her family, her career, and the long road to seeing the beauty in her life. Jones will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books on October 9.

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The Wonder of It All

Alan Lightman explores the beauty of the night sky in his first children’s book

Author and physicist Alan Lightman’s first children’s book, Ada and the Galaxies, written with Olga Pastuchiv and illustrated by Susanna Chapman, captures a girl’s joy over visiting her grandfather and exploring the star-filled sky over his home on an island in Maine.

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