Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Roaming Internal Landscapes

M. Randal O’Wain’s stories limn the South’s inequities and anguished history

In his story collection Hallelujah Station, Memphis native M. Randal O’Wain explores lives we’ve pushed to the margins. There’s suffering aplenty, but there are also dashes of art — poets, Dutch Masters, David Lynch — to leaven the pain.

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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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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.

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Remembering Robert Johnson

Brother Robert provides a human perspective on the man who changed American music

Assisted by journalist and historian Preston Lauterbach, 94-year-old Annye C. Anderson describes growing up in Memphis with her stepbrother, Robert Johnson. This detail-rich oral history recounts the famous bluesman from his earliest childhood to his death at 27, along with the long legal battle for his music that followed.

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Be Brave or Be Crazy

Nashville writer and musician Rob Rufus examines the anger and fear of American youth in 1968

In The Vinyl Underground, a young adult novel by Nashville writer and musician Rob Rufus, 17-year-old Ronnie Bingham is reeling from the death of his beloved older brother in Vietnam and terrified of following in his footsteps.  

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Designing an Interior Life

Co-founder of Blackberry Farm Kreis Beall recounts her journey toward authenticity

In The Great Blue Hills of God, hospitality entrepreneur Kreis Beall describes how she embraced simplicity and renovated her soul.

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