Sunday, October 13, 2013

Artober Nashville: Sunday's Highlights at the 2013 Southern Festival of Books

Posted By on Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

No doubt many people will be attending this weekend just to hear recent National Book Award nominee James McBride. (See story here.) But it's also a good day to encounter some authors you'll be hearing more about in coming years. One is Holly Goddard Jones, who follows up her impressive short-story collection Girl Trouble with The Next Time You See Me (noon, Legislative Plaza, Room 30) — a slow-burning drama about the search for a missing small-town factory worker that Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn called "an astoundingly good novel."

• Another is Michael Farris Smith, the award-winning short-story writer whose debut novel Rivers (noon, Nashville Public Library, Conference Room IB) has earned comparisons to Cormac McCarthy with its depiction of deadly close encounters in a flood-ravaged apocalyptic South. He joins Wilderness author Lance Weller for a panel with the promising title "Lost in America."

• Up against them is one of the events of the weekend: the unveiling of Meet Me on the Plaza (noon, War Memorial Auditorium), the omnibus publication Humanities Tennessee has assembled to commemorate the SFB's 25th celebration. Present are all-star contributors Roy Blount Jr., Lee Smith and Bobbie Ann Mason along with longtime Humanities Tennessee president Robert Cheatham, who penned the epic intro.

• While Jon Meacham interviews current Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (1:30 p.m., Nashville Public Library Auditorium), Keel Hunt tells how we ousted former Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton in Coup! (1:30 p.m., Nashville Public Library, Conference Room IA), his engaging account of the concerted effort that sabotaged the crooked lawmaker's reign.

• One of the very first SFB guests, Allan Gurganus, returns with his new novel Local Souls (2 p.m., Nashville Public Library, Grand Reading Room). Across the plaza, popular local young-adult authors C.J. Redwine (Deception) and Kat Zhang (Once We Were) join Entangled's Amy Rose Capetta for a panel on writing YA science fiction with fierce young female protagonists (2 p.m., Legislative Plaza, Room 29).

• We hear Chuck Palahniuk (see story here) may be wearing pajamas and handing out toys at his sure-to-be-packed appearance. We do not hear this about the Nashville Writers Circle gathering of William Akers, Roy Blount Jr., Rick Bragg and John Seigenthaler (2:30 p.m., Nashville Public Library, Banner Room) — but hey, check it out and let us know. Meanwhile, Grammy winner Janis Ian reads from her children's book The Tiny Mouse (2:30 p.m., Nashville Public Library Auditorium).

• Students of local history will not want to miss "History Is a Rolling Wheel" (3 p.m., Legislative Plaza, Room 12), at which eminent Nashville author John Egerton discusses the region's route to the present with Reuben Kyle and Paul Clements, whose monumental Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements 1779-1796 remains a Christmas wish-list item for Middle Tennessee history buffs.

• Already attracting much attention is Set Free: Discover Forgiveness Amidst Murder and Betrayal (3 p.m., Legislative Plaza, Room 16) by Stephen Owens, whose mother Gaile was convicted of killing his father Ron and spent 26 years on death row before being paroled in 2011.

• As a grand finale, line up with hundreds of parents and kids to see the man who engineered the best literary cameo ever by Nashville's Parthenon: Percy Jackson creator Rick Riordan. (See story here.)

See the full festival schedule here. And for more Artober Nashville events, click here.

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