Q & A
Karen Russell talks with Chapter 16 about why she broke up with Amazon, how it feels to be on the shortlist for a Pulitzer Prize that was not awarded, and the distinction between fantasy and fiction
April 15, 2013Stephen Usery first spoke with Karen Russell in 2011 after the release of her debut novel, Swamplandia!. In 2012, the book was named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. That year no prize was given, a decision which created quite a stir in the literary world. Today Usery talks with Russell about the controversy, as well as about her new story collection,Vampires in the Lemon Grove. To hear a podcast of the interview, click here.
Published Monday, 15 April 2013
Acclaimed scholar Randall Fuller discusses the impact of the Civil War on Walt Whitman’s poetic vision
April 4, 2013 In From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature, Randall Fuller chronicles the evolution of Walt Whitman’s poetic vision of heroic American identity. The tragedy of the war, Fuller writes, gave Whitman “a gift both precious and dangerous.” On April 11 at 7 p.m., Randall Fuller will discuss Whitman as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Series at Rhodes College in Memphis. The event is free and open to the public.
Published Thursday, 4 April 2013
Novelist Jay McInerney and editor Gary Fisketjon have been collaborating on books—and drinking Jack Daniel’s together—for the last thirty-nine years
April 3, 2013 Legendary Knopf editor Gary Fisketjon and acclaimed writer Jay McInerney have been friends since their college days, and Fisketjon has been McInerney’s editor since the publication Bright Lights, Big City. In fact, as McInerney tells Chapter 16 in this interview, he wrote the first page of the novel after coming home to Fisketjon’s apartment at five in the morning, after a long night on the town. McInerney and Fisketjon will appear on April 7 at the Nashville Public Library in a program of the Nashville Writer’s Circle hosted by John Seigenthaler and William M. Akers. A reception begins at 2 p.m. with the program following at 2:30. Both are free and open to the public.
Published Wednesday, 3 April 2013
In his short stories, Adam Prince considers the male psyche
March 28, 2013 In The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men, Adam Prince, a long-time Knoxville resident, writes stories that move with brutal honesty through the male psyche. Today he speaks candidly with Chapter 16 about choosing difficult characters, avoiding writing gimmicks, and hope for the future of literary fiction. Prince will read in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee’s John C. Hodges Library on April 8 at 7 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.
Published Thursday, 28 March 2013
Popular NPR humorist and Vanderbilt graduate Roy Blount Jr. writes a contemplation of word etymologies that is both erudite and as funny as a skunk in the parsonage
March 22, 2013 Roy Blount Jr. is one of those rare writers whose actual voice has become almost as familiar as his literary one. Most weekends, you can hear his signature blend of Georgia drawl and rapid-fire wit on the National Public Radio quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," and he periodically recites comical poetry and inflicts musical screeching (as founder of the fictional "Society for the Singing Impaired") on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. The Vanderbilt graduate has performed a successful off-Broadway one-man show, appeared on several network television programs, and stayed busy on the college lecture circuit. Blount will appear at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville on March 26 at 8 p.m. in the Mabry Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Published Friday, 22 March 2013
Chapter 16 talks with Anne Lamott about her faith, her new grandson, and why she believes kids are sometimes better off in single-parent homes
March 21, 2013 Novelist Anne Lamott has become a kind of patron saint to millions of readers, whole categories of readers, who welcome her advice on parenting, writing, faith, and recovery from addiction. Now Lamott is back, this time with her first grandparenting memoir, Some Assembly Required: A Diary of My Son’s First Son. Written with her son, Sam Lamott, who was nineteen when his child was born, Some Assembly Required is an account of the year Sam learned to be a father and Lamott learned the difficult role of a grandmother: to love recklessly and keep her mouth shut as tightly as possible. On April 3 at 6:15 p.m., Anne Lamott will discuss Some Assembly Required and her new book on faith, Help, Thanks, Wow, and at the Nashville Public Library as part of the a href="http://nashvillepubliclibrary.org/salonat615/upcoming-salon615-authors/">Salon@615 series. The event is free and open to the public.
Published Thursday, 21 March 2013
Novelist Lauren Groff talks with Chapter 16 about her acclaimed novel Arcadia
March 14, 2013 Included on countless “best of” lists in 2012, Lauren Groff’s Arcadia tells the loving and lyrical story of a commune’s rise and fall from the late 1960s through the end of the twentieth century, and of the coming of age of one of its members, a boy known as Bit. Groff’s lush, figurative prose channels the natural world that envelops the community of Arcadia, as well as the magical realm of the Grimm fairy tales that fuel Bit’s imagination. Groff will read from her work in Nashville on March 22 at 4 p.m. in Buttrick Hall Room 101 on the Vanderbilt University campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Published Thursday, 14 March 2013
Jesse Graves writes poems about the things he cares most about
March 12, 2013 Jesse Graves's first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, has earned high acclaim, including the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award in poetry and the Weatherford Award, presented annually by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. Such accolades are no surprise to those who have worked with Graves and followed his career. As novelist Ron Rash notes, “These poems have the music, wisdom, and singular voice of a talent fully realized, and make abundantly clear that Jesse Graves is one of America’s finest young poets.” Today Graves talks with Chapter 16 about writing, teaching, and his deep roots in Sharp's Chapel, Tennessee.
Published Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Phyllis Tickle examines the Christian Emergence movement in the twenty-first century
by Tina LoTufo
March 11, 2013 Memphis writer Phyllis Tickle believes that Christianity—and specifically Protestantism in North America—is undergoing a cataclysmic shift. Buffeted by science, technology, politics, economics, and culture, the “faith of our fathers” appears to be facing obstacles undreamed of by previous generations. But according to Tickle and many other scholars, this has all happened before—several times. In The Great Emergence, newly released in paperback, Tickle examines the incredibly swift and often overwhelming changes of our own era. In her followup, Emergence Christianity, she narrows her focus to describe in detail the surprising new ways people have found of creating a church community in the twenty-first century.
Published Monday, 11 March 2013
Memphis native Anna Olswanger has written a tiny but powerful book of Holocaust literature for middle-grade readers
March 6, 2013 Anna Olswanger’s new children’s book, Greenhorn, tells the story of Daniel, a young Polish Holocaust survivor who arrives at a Brooklyn yeshiva in 1946. He’s carrying nothing but a mysterious small tin box, the contents of which he refuses to reveal. For his silence, Daniel is the object of both cruelty and compassion from his American peers. A tiny book with an enormous heart, as heartbreaking as it is brief, Greenhorn is a poignant, powerful addition to the canon of Holocaust literature for young people.
Published Wednesday, 6 March 2013