Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

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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Pursuers of the Myth

In The Secret Token, Andrew Lawler excavates the many theories surrounding the vanished colony of Roanoke

In The Secret Token, Andrew Lawler investigates the fate of the vanished colony of Roanoke Island, the first English settlement on North America. Andrew Lawler will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on June 18 and at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville on June 19.

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Red, White, Blue, and Red

In A Good American Family, David Maraniss explores the Red Scare of the 1950s

In A Good American Family, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss turns his remarkable talents as a journalist and historian toward the history of his father’s trials during the years of the Red Scare. Maraniss will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 22.

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Books and Rock, Love and Theft

Florence Dore explores early rock’s relationship to Southern fiction in Novel Sounds

Nashville native Florence Dore’s Novel Sounds explores early rock and roll’s influence on postwar Southern fiction, zeroing in on the use of the ballads and blues traditions. Dore will discuss Novel Sounds alongside Nashville musician Kevin Gordon at Vanderbilt University’s First Amendment Center Auditorium on April 11.

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Try it Again, More Like You

In I Miss You When I Blink, Mary Laura Philpott delivers an irresistibly charming memoir in essays

“My name is Mary Laura, and I am addicted to getting things right.” In I Miss You When I Blink, Mary Laura Philpott, co-host of Nashville Public Television’s A Word on Words and founding editor of Parnassus Books’ digital magazine, Musings, delivers a witty, whimsical, deeply moving meditation on facing down despair and finding joy in imperfection. Philpott will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on April 1 and at Novel in Memphis on April 17.

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How to Plan A Road Trip that Won’t Trip You Out

This is My South blogger Caroline Eubanks has written a handbook for hitting the road

Travelers tend to fall into one of two categories: those who don’t mind sweating and those who do. Caroline Eubanks offers advice for both in her new book, This is My South. Eubanks will appear at Novel in Memphis on March 14.

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