Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Give Me My Daily Wickedness”

Celebrated novelist Gish Jen talks with Chapter 16 about truth-telling and the project of fiction

A prolific writer known for exploring multiculturalism with keen intelligence, grace, and humor, Gish Jen is the author of four novels, a short-story volume, and, most recently, a nonfiction book created from the talks she gave at Harvard University in 2012 as part of the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization.

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Let the Truth Show Itself in the Work

Chapter 16 talks with James McBride, author of the 2016 Nashville Reads selection, The Color of Water

Nearly twenty years have passed since the publication of James McBride’s first book, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. The memoir spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and continues to be a regular selection for city-wide programs.

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Papers, Please

Daniel Connolly looks at challenges facing the children of immigrants

Reporter Daniel Connolly spent the 2012-2013 school year at Kingsbury High School in Memphis, where Latino teenagers make up nearly fifty percent of the student population. The Book of Isaias is his account of that year. 

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Ghosts of Nashville

John Prine talks about songwriting, Nashville, Paradise, and his new book, Beyond Words

John Prine’s first official songbook, Beyond Words, collects sixty of his influential songs. It also offers a treasure trove of family photographs, song manuscripts, and short commentaries that highlight the singer’s incisive wit.

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For Lives That Matter

Ibram X. Kendi discusses Stamped From the Beginning, winner of the National Book Award

In Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram Kendi offers a panoramic, penetrating vision of a disturbing theme in the nation’s past. 

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More Than One Life

Lee Smith discusses the challenges and pleasures of writing—and living—over the long haul

Fueled by empathy, precision, and wit, Lee Smith’s fiction opens up the interior worlds of characters whose depths we might least expect, given the everyday circumstances of their Southern lives. Smith spoke with Chapter 16 about her lifelong pursuit of stories that thrive on healthy doses of surprise, conflict, and mischief. 

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