Remembering the late John Egerton, who loved the South as fiercely as he fought its injustices
November 26, 2013 It would not be possible to overstate the cultural and literary influence of Nashville author John Egerton, who died last Thursday of an apparent heart attack at age 78. In books like Speak Now Against the Day and Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, Egerton's great project was chronicling and interpreting “this eccentric and enigmatic region in which we live,” as he put it. Here at Chapter 16, we mourn the loss of a great writer—and a great friend.
Published Tuesday, 26 November 2013
It’s hard to translate the need to leave an Indonesian village for a grandmother’s deathbed half the world away
June 27, 2013 It’s wonderful to know that one can mean so much to so many in such a small place. Later, looking out the plane window, I think of all the little villages past the lights of Surabaya, each little school just a dot on an island just a dot on the world. So many dots, so much love to offer. Plop a Peace Corps volunteer in the dot and watch the love tumble in.
Published Wednesday, 26 June 2013
With the publication of Full Body Burden, Kristen Iversen’s life changed
June 5, 2013 Before her memoir, Full Body Burden, hit shelves, Kristen Iversen got some advice from Helen Caldicott, one of her heroes: “Buckle your seatbelt and take your vitamins,” Caldicott said. “Your life is about to change.” In an essay for Chapter 16, Iversen explains just how prescient those words turned out to be.
Published Wednesday, 5 June 2013
A struggling gardener considers what writing shares with cultivating the soil
June 3, 2013 “There is in me that dark tendency to see gardening as just one more thing at which to fail—a pursuit that can only result in my coming up short in the shadow of my parents’ mastery. But I can also see it as just another form of the revision process, of creative habit, one that has much to say to writing.” Susannah Felts will read from her work on June 4, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Fat Bottom Brewery in Nashville. She will be joined by songwriter Joshua Payne. The free event is part of the East Side Storytellin’ series, which pairs writers and musicians in performance.
Published Monday, 3 June 2013
How J.T. Ellison learned to ignore the damning voices and get on with writing thrillers
by J.T. Ellison
May 24, 2013 “The farcical means by which I returned to a life as a writer—adopting a stray cat, going to work for the vet who saved her life, mopping up dog urine and watching the castration of a Siamese cat, and then, on day three of this unique torture, herniating a disc and needing back surgery—is fit for fiction itself. During the recovery, I discovered a writer named John Sandford, and something clicked. My magnetic poles shifted, and I had one, simple, arrogant thought. If he can do it, so can I.” J.T. Ellison will discuss her novel, A Deeper Darkness—and the unlikely career trajectory that led her to writing thrillers—with the East Side Story book club in Nashville on May 28 at 6 p.m.
Published Friday, 24 May 2013
What can a fiction writer learn from a Nashville recording session?
by Todd Dills
"I spend a lot of time in the coffeehouses of East Nashville, where I live. "What do you do?'—the question has been posed to me countless times in idle conversation. My stock response, 'I write,' is invariably followed by some permutation of 'What instruments do you play?'" Fiction writer Todd Dills considers what it means to build a literary community in a town full of songwriters. Dills will read from Triumph of the Ape on May 21, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Fat Bottom Brewery in Nashville. He will be joined by songwriter Mike Willis. This free event is part of the East Side Storytellin’ series, which pairs writers and musicians in performance.
Published Monday, 20 May 2013
Waking up on someone else’s sofa can be the loneliest feeling—or the perfect emblem of hope
by Joe Pagetta
January 7, 2013 In 2005, I released a record with some of Nashville’s finest musicians and a few guest singers. It was the closest thing I had to a breakthrough. There was critical acclaim, in the states and overseas, healthy airplay on college radio throughout the country, and I hit the road for some gigs that actually paid. Then I woke up one morning on another musician’s couch, and I realized I couldn’t do it. After working so hard to make something of myself, I just couldn’t spend any more time sleeping on other people’s couches.
Published Monday, 7 January 2013
Once I figured out what a sordid and confused battle my attackers were waging, I was no longer afraid
December 5, 2012 “People can be incredulous, at times even critical, when I tell them that I always treated these bad actors with civility. They assume I was weak, naïve, or simply just too nice. People actually used to urge me to go into the stands at basketball games in the Deep South and accost the racist cat-callers. The reality is that I always had a specific plan of action, and it was based on a tough-minded assessment of the circumstances, as well as a respect for certain important values.” In an essay for Chapter 16, law professor Perry E. Wallace recalls the lessons he learned at Vanderbilt as the first African-American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference.
Published Wednesday, 5 December 2012
To learn to soar, sometimes all it takes is a hero
by Sean Kinch
November 5, 2012 While my friends played Nerf football in the street or debated Big Ten versus Southwest Conference defenses, I’d bike over to Gullett Elementary with my junior-sized basketballs and spend afternoons on the school’s asphalt courts accompanied only by the imaginative projections of my heroes. No one witnessed the games, but I never felt alone—not with the Phoenix Suns’ Walter Davis on my wing and Alvan Adams on the block, not playing defense against Havlicek’s Celtics or trying to match the ball-handling panache of the Knicks’ Walt Frazier. I’d check the box scores for my heroes—guys like David Thompson or Rick Barry—and then re-create their statistics, making the same number of field goals and free throws, high-fiving teammates when the game was complete.
Published Monday, 5 November 2012
A Nashville native celebrates the arrival of the twenty-fourth annual Southern Festival of Books
by Emily Choate
October 12, 2012 Beginning at noon today, Humanities Tennessee kicks off the literary event of the Nashville year. At the Southern Festival of Books, running through Sunday on Legislative Plaza, you’ll find readings, panel discussions, author signings, children’s programs, music, food, and a huge array of literary wares. With seven Pulitzer Prize-winners and thirty-six authors who have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, this year’s slate of talent encompasses a lively mix of Southern and non-Southern writers alike. Before it all begins, Nashville native Emily Choate reflects on the literary high-wire act she has loved since high school.
Published Friday, 12 October 2012
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