Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

A House that Binds

In Angela Flournoy’s first novel, members of a large Detroit clan clash and thrive in a city under stress

Set in Detroit, Angela Flournoy’s critically celebrated first novel follows the struggles—with relationships, addiction, finances, even a ghost—of thirteen siblings and their parents. Flournoy discussed The Turner House with Chapter 16 prior to her 2016 appearances at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville and the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.

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Of Facts and Fables

Maurice Carlos Ruffin discusses his mesmerizing debut novel, We Cast a Shadow

Maurice Carlos Ruffin casts a satirical spell in his debut novel, We Cast A Shadow. Its unnamed narrator, driven by fierce love for his son, makes decisions that expose his family to the dangers of a world that may seem dystopian but in fact lies excruciatingly close to our own. Ruffin will appear at the 2019 Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville on October 11-13.

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Teaching and Unteaching—and Entertaining All the Way

For more than three decades, Patricia McKissack has been writing children’s books that bring to life the stories, and the truth, of her ancestors

As she was coming of age in Nashville in the 1950s, there were many places award-winning children’s author Patricia McKissack was not allowed to go. She remembers hotels and restaurants that forbade African Americans entry, and movie theaters with a separate doorway in the alley for black patrons. The farthest reaches of the Grand Ole Opry’s balcony, known as the buzzard’s roost, was the only seating open to African Americans, McKissack recalls. She never partook: “My grandfather said that watermelons would bloom in January if any of his children went down there. ‘We don’t sit in no buzzard’s roost,’ he said. ‘We’re human beings, not buzzards.'”

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Rugged Country

Min Jin Lee discusses identity, diaspora, and resistance in her novel Pachinko

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, a finalist for the National Book Award, follows a Korean family through four generations of migration, hardship, and survival, telling their interlocking stories in vivid detail. 

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The Crooked Road to a Musical Legacy

Terry Klefstad chronicles the life and legacy of musician Bill Pursell

Crooked River City, Terry Wait Klefstad’s biography of musician and composer Bill Pursell, considers his influence on the Nashville Sound.

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High Water

The Gone Dead is a blues novel that’s out to summon ghosts

In Chanelle Benz’s debut novel The Gone Dead, a woman arrives in the Mississippi Delta to claim her inheritance — and stays to solve the mystery of her father’s death. Benz will discuss The Gone Dead at Novel in Memphis on June 25

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